How many Petalumans know that “Great ShakeOut Drills” have been held annually since 2008 in California? Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover from quickly. Locally, the Petaluma CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program that was initiated in Petaluma, in 2006, has supported this event by conducting local emergency radio team drills at the neighborhood level.

When the CERT program was still supported by the City (2006-2011), the project graduated over 120 volunteer citizens from a series of 27 hour CERT Courses. Thirty-two of these graduates either already had, or went on to earn their FCC amateur radio license. Fifteen of this group also became certified as ACS (Auxiliary Communication Service) operators that could staff the radios at the City’s EOC (Emergency Operations Center) when an emergency was officially declared by government officials. In 2011, approximately 23 of the former CEFRT Hams continued to serve the community as volunteers for the Petaluma Neighborhood HamWatch Network, which is still active today.

On Thursday, October 15th., from 10:15-10:45 a.m., several of the Petaluma NHW operators will conduct drills involving the use of two frequencies: 146.910-85 MHz and 146.35 Simplex. When all other modes of communication fail to operate, amateur radio will still be available and save the day.

BTW, the only local volunteer radio group or Neighborhood Group that has registered, to date, with the Great ShakeOut Day organizers, is Petaluma’s Neighborhood HamWatch. For more information about past Emergency Preparedness events and activities, click on the Ham Radio and Emergency Preparedness categories on the right side of this page.