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Press Contact: Gil Dong, Deputy Fire Chief, (510) 981-5501

On May 19, Berkeley CERTs will practice emergency-response skills

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, April 24, 2012) - On May 19, members of Berkeley’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) from across the City will be testing their preparedness plans and their response skills. In the course of the Saturday-morning exercise, CERT members will be practicing communicating in four different directions: with their own families, with their own neighborhoods, with the City Emergency Operation Center and with other neighborhoods.

“In a disaster, communication is the first and biggest challenge,” said Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor. “Although we can’t completely simulate a disaster, the coordinated exercise gives our neighborhood groups and our staff the chance to work together and practice disaster response in Berkeley neighborhoods. One of the exciting aspects about this exercise is that it’s not just for CERT groups—any community group or individual can participate.”

If you’re a neighborhood group:
      •      Visit the exercise web page for information about the exercise;
      •      Download the Participant Handbook, which provides details on how to participate;
      •      Register your group to connect with other neighborhood groups and with the City;
      •      Demonstrate effective communications within your neighborhood, with the City and with other neighborhood groups.

If you’re an individual:
      •      Ensure everyone in your family has easy access to each other’s phone numbers;
      •      Communicate with your out-of-area contact;
      •      Sign up for an exercise text message from the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS);
      •      Listen for important exercise information on 1610 AM; and
      •      Visit www.cityofberkeley.info/getready for more ideas about how to prepare for a disaster.

Go directly to the 2012 Berkeley CERT exercise page.

About Berkeley CERT: In a catastrophic disaster, government resources (people and supplies) may not be available in every neighborhood for several days following the event. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program provides education in disaster preparedness and provides training in basic emergency skills. Curriculum includes basic disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, search and rescue and more. 

Berkeley CERT approaches community preparedness through three key components: Response, Training, and Volunteering. Looking at the community's role even before a disaster, citizens must take steps to respond to their own needs for training. Community members plug into preparedness by working on program development, as volunteer trainers, as subject matter experts and as community volunteer responders.

For more information, visit Berkeley CERT's webpage at  www.CityofBerkeley.info/CERT. Residents with questions about participation can contact Khin Chin at (510) 981-5506 or kchin@CityofBerkeley.info.


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