What a deal! The following blog could have been categorized as either Then & Now or Emergency Preparedness. This coming Wednesday, (4/18) will be the 106th Anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that caused severe damage in Santa Rosa. Some stories related to this historic event have already appeared in local newspapers recently.

To date, this “wanna be” reporter has posted 88 blogs under the Emergency Preparedness heading and 42 under Then & Now. (These earlier blogs are available in the Archives Box, on the right, or via the Search Box above.) The Then & Now (#9 Blog) – Let’s Move Forward, was posted on April 16, 2006, and has been posted, again, below for readers today. (Six years later.)

In addition, Emergency Preparedness (#1 Blog) – We Are Not Alone … EP-wise, originally published on September 7, 2006 (approximately five months after T&N #9), will be posted tomorrow as Part II. Readers are encouraged to read both of them, and then return to this site on Thursday (4/19) for a follow-up message.

Part I – Let’s Move Forward (4-19-06)

Enough is enough! After four hours of viewing various TV documentaries about the “Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906″ (Ch. 3,4,7,62), I now know more about what happened back then, than when I lived in S.F. My major concern is about now – 2006. The message is clear. According to earthquake scientists, there will be another major quake within the next 30 years. Most likely, the Rogers Creek fault; which is right in “our back yard.” What shall we do when the next one strikes? What emergency plans are in place, now?

As I was quoted in the Argus-Courier article of April 12, “Government can’t do it all. We need to be prepared to take care of ourselves in an emergency.” Readers of my blog know, by now, that in Petaluma we have launched a citizens’ initiative using various acronyms:CERT, NERT, and ALERT. What do these letters stand for?

CERT = Community Emergency Response Team. The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. That training program proved to be so beneficial that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) felt that CERT training programs should be made available to communities all across the country. In 2003, the Citizens Corps program was established and CERT was one of the first programs offered so that community volunteers, through education and training, could become better prepared to handle all kinds of disasters and thereby help their communities become safer and healthier places in which to live. CERT training covers basic skills that are important to know in an emergency when emergency services are not available.

NERT = Neighborhood Emergency Team. The NERT concept was created by the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD). The NERT mission statement reads: “Beginning with ourselves, we will be prepared and work as an individual or together as emergency response teams to assist our families and neighbors in time of disaster and to be prepared to make decisions that do – The Most Good For The Most People.” The Petaluma NERT model is build upon existing Neighborhood Watch groups that choose to add CERT and basic first aid training, an electronic conference board or Neighborhood Network, a licensed amateur radio operator, and a NERT leader/coordinator. When these five components are brought together, we then have a Petaluma “star” neighborhood.

ALERT = Alliance of Local Emergency Response Teams. The ultimate goal of our local efforts will be the formation of “Petaluma ALERT,” an alliance of NERT and CERT volunteers so that sharing of information and coordination of events can take place. The hope is that –when – the next major disaster happens, Petalumans will be better prepared.
Stay tuned for public announcements about CERT, NERT, & ALERT news. Continue to read the Argus-Courier, watch PCA, and return to this blog.
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Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.