The mission of the Cambria CERT organization is to “Do the Most Good for the Most People.” This year, thanks to community support, we were able to take some pretty big steps in that direction.
Thanks to funding from the Cambria Community Council (CCC) and the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD), we were able to fully implement our plan to equip every CERT member with a two-way radio. Just think of the value of 150-plus reporting points, all over Cambria, organized to get their local situation summed up and available to the first responders. We are still training to achieve this goal, but the capability is in place.
That 150-plus figure is quite a force multiplier for our first responders, but it requires some direction. We are lucky enough to have a trained cadre of 13 staging area managers (SAMs) to organize our local groups of volunteers into responding teams. Thanks to the Odd Fellows, Rotary and CCSD/Fire Department, we have been able to provision all the SAMs with equipment needed to activate their teams and respond to planned evacuations, house-to-house checks as well as light search-and-rescue operations.
Even large companies like SoCal Gas have provided a grant sufficient to make sure every one of our CERT responders has a gas shutoff tool and glow sticks to keep them safe while checking the gas. Besides funding, the Cambria Community Healthcare District has provided first-aid training and revised its website to provide a valuable Cambria CERT Overview. We have been fortunate enough to establish a strong partnership with the Fire Safe Focus Group, allowing us to mutually support efforts like the Fire Safe Fair and free chipping events to reduce the available wildfire fuel.
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Most of all, a big thanks is owed to all the Cambria CERT responders and the large number of Cambria residents who have taken the CERT basic training class over the years. Every person who has taken this course will make a difference when an emergency occurs in Cambria. Each person who has learned how to take care of himself or herself and their families have freed up a responder to take care of others.
I’ve tried to cover the highlights, but I know there are many more that have done their part.
It takes a community to keep us all safe and we have a great one! Thanks to all Cambrians for their support.
Craig Ufferheide is the coordinator for the Cambria Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.