Earlier today, I e-mailed local amateur radio operators information about the upcoming Annual California Great ShakeOut Day on October 16th. Its overall purpose is to help citizens to Be Ready and Be Prepared to cope with a major disaster such as a flood, wildfire, or earthquake. Nine years ago, an initiative called NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) brought together a local neighborhood to help them to be on their own and to self-activate in the event of a major disaster when all power is out and most forms of communications are inoperable. It started as a pilot project in 2005, following Hurricane Katrina and was featured on an Internet TV show titled, “Can Sonoma County Communicate?” (Pacific Clearstream Media Group, 10-19-05) Panel members represented Sonoma County Emergency Management, Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS), Petaluma Fire Department, and a STAR neighborhood (Safe+Trained+Alert+Ready.)

On October 16, from 10:30-10:5 a.m., local Ham radio operators will be able to test their signal strength on Simplex 146.535 MHz. Later, in the afternoon, the radio room at the Senior Center will be available (2-3 p.m.) for a live communication demonstration. In addition, there will be displays identifying various emergency preparedness programs that have been available to Petalumans over the years; for example: CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), CERN (Community Emergengy Radio Network), ALERT (Alliance of Local Emergency Radio Teams), and Neighborhood Hamwatch (http://www.hamwatch.org)

Stay tuned for additional blogs related to the history of Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness opportunities offered in Petaluma from 2006-2014.