All posts by Diltz

Basic Training 2018

Our fall G-317 course kicks off next Thursday evening, September 6th, and continues weekly through October 25th plus a disaster simulation on Saturday, October 27th.

At the end of October, we expect to add 20+ new members to the Allen CERT family. As always, existing members are always welcome to attend any of the classes for refresher training or just to observe/assist.

As a reminder, the sequence of modules has been reordered this year to optimize the learning path. For the full schedule, visit our calendar.

Disaster Simulation

This year our disaster simulation will be held October 27th. We are on track for this to be as big as last year!! Great news for our program!

If you are interested in helping out this year, please reply to the simulation email box below. We will start meeting toward the end of August and meet once a week for an hour ahead of the simulation. The time commitment is not huge, just be aware that the week or two right before the simulation will require a little extra time.

Damage Assessment Recap

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting meteorology and damage assessment experts Tim Marshall and Carson Eads at Central Fire Station. Their presentation was both intriguing and eye-opening. In Ken Langley’s words:

The training brought together members from the Plano, McKinney and Allen CERT teams to hear Carson Eads and Tim Marshall talk about a real world case study from the 2015 tornadoes in the Dallas area. Tim has a master’s degree in both meteorology and structural engineering which enables him to view storms and storm damage from a unique perspective. Tim stated that building codes require structures to withstand 90 mile per hour wind when measured at 10 meters. These codes have very specific requirements for attaching building to the slabs, securing the 2nd floor of homes and roof construction. However; for economic reasons, many homes and building do not always comply to all the code requirements. Tim and Carson showed numerous examples of small mistakes during construction that may not be detected by an inspector can result in a home or building that while it looks good may not be able to withstand wind forces generated by relatively small wind or tornado events. Once the sheet rock is installed, it becomes very expensive to check or correct the problems.

During our basic training, we are taught that a CERT team should always assess damage before entering a building or home and only enter a structure with light or moderate damage. This training highlighted how a structure may appear to have only light or moderate damage yet due to construction short falls, would be unsafe to enter.

The big takeaway from this training was; if your team decides to enter a damaged structure, be very cautious to not step on or move building materials that may be supporting walls or other parts of the structure.

A big thanks to Carson and Tim for sharing their expertise, to Plano and McKinney CERT for joining us, and to Ken Langley for organizing the event.

100 Deadly Skills for a Disaster

Pick up some tips & tricks, and meet a celebrity!

Plano CERT is hosting the one-and-only Clint Emerson on October 16th, 6:30 PM, at the Plano OEM, and they have extended the invitation to Allen CERT.

Clint Emerson is a Navy Seal, business owner, best-selling author, and survival instructor. His book, 100 Deadly Skills was on the New York Times Best Seller list and he travels the world teaching everyday folks how to increase their chances of surviving the worst day of their lives.

He is visiting Plano CERT to share, what he calls, “100 Deadly Skills in a Disaster”.

Space Is Limited

…so register now by emailing Judith Aubrey at with the following information:

  • First and Last Name
  • Jurisdiction (Allen CERT)


Easy DIY Scanner for $100

Monitor Fire/Police Radio

For those of you who are interested in being able to monitor Fire/Police radio channels on the new Plano P25 Phase 2 radio system, we have identified a cost effective way to accomplish this using a Raspberry Pi  3 Model 3+ Linux computer system, with a  RTL-SDR software defined radio receiver and a very simple internal antenna.  The total cost for these components should be approximately $100.00.  The needed items can be purchased via the Internet  (Amazon Prime).  Once you have purchased the items listed in the package below, we can assist you in programming the micro SD memory card, used by the Raspberry Pi.  The configuration will allow you to monitor any unencrypted Police/Fire radio channel operating on the Plano PAWM (Plano, Allen, Wiley, Murphy) radio system you may be interested in.

The Parts

We have assembled a recommended parts list for your convenience. All of the items can be purchased on Amazon so if you have a Prime membership, you can be up and running in less than a week.

Click here for the full list

Price (as of 8/24/18)
RTL-SDR Software Defined Radio and Antenna bundle $27.95
Raspberry Pi 3, with case and power supply $49.99
Micro-SD card, 32 GB, with adapter $9.69
Portable Bluetooth speaker with aux-in $12.99
3.5 mm audio cable $4.99
Total Cost $105.61

The speaker, audio cable and micro-SD card can be swapped out at your preference, or replaced with items you already have at home.


Once you have the parts, contact Mike Pruden for assistance with configuring the Raspberry Pi to receive and decode the radio transmissions. With this setup, you simply power on the system and start listening!

Damage Assessment Training

On Monday, August 20, special guest Tim Marshall (pictured above) will share industry standards for assessing and reporting damage in a disaster response. In addition, he will share what he has learned from years of experience in the psychology aspect of a post-disaster scene.

Tim Marshall began his career in meteorology and disaster response in the early 80’s and has worked for Haag Engineering, NOAA, and the National Weather Service. He was on the team that developed the Enhanced Fujita scale and has contributed to many other national initiatives and innovations.

He is looking forward to sharing his expertise with other emergency response organizations and we are very lucky to have made his schedule. Please plan to attend this practical training that will directly impact our capabilities when called upon. The class will take place at Allen Central Fire Station, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

Note: This event is intended for active members of the Allen Community Emergency Response Team. If you are interested in attending, but not a member, please send an email to to check availability. 

Spotlight: Ken Langley

Having joined the team just one year ago, Ken Langley has already become a familiar face at meetings and events. Bringing decades of practical experience, he has contributed valuable feedback on our Basic Training program and is currently organizing a CE training that will take our damage assessment capabilities to the next level (stay tuned for more on that)! Read more about Ken below.

What is your place of birth?

Mineral Wells, Texas. My father was an auditor and troubleshooter for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service at various Army and Air Force bases, as a result I attended 6 school systems in 5 states finally graduating from high school in Colonial Heights Virginia. I received an athletic scholarship that enabled me to play football at a major tier one collage. With the scholarship, I was majoring in  football with a minor in partying and going to class when I had time. Needless to say; I was not overly surprised when I received a letter from my draft board asking me to come talk to them about my collage deferment. Rather than waiting to be drafted, I joined the US Air Force.

What brought you to Allen, TX?

Moved to the Dallas area in 1973 after being discharged from the Air Force and moved to Allen in 1975. Cost of housing was the primary reason for moving to Allen, we bought a small 4-bedroom house in the Hillside area for $18,500.

Tell us about your immediate family (including any pets).

My wife, Mary, and I have been married for 38 years; we have 3 kids, 4 grandkids, 1 real dog and 3 micro dogs.

Tell us about your professional career.

Utilizing skills learned while I was in the USAF; for over 40 years, I’ve traveled the world working as an individual contributor, supervisor, manager, and senior executive for several technology companies.

For the last 10 years, I’ve leverage my experiences to help numerous business owners enhance profitably and operational efficiency with technology and business operations reviews.

What fictional character most closely aligns to your personality?

I’m not much of a fictional guy; however, I greatly admire the skills and commitment of WW 2 aviators.

What other hobbies / extra-curricular activities keep you busy?

I’ve been a pilot since 1973 flying primarily general aviation aircraft to support personal and business travel. My interest in aviation includes doing a lot of volunteer hours at the Cavanaugh Flight museum in Addison and proving flights for special needs kid through a non-profit called Challenge Air for Kids & Friends.

As we move farther into our retirement years; my wife and I are planning a 2 or 3 year trip in our RV to see various parts of this great country.

If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?

A Bible, good Leatherman knife and a magnifying glass.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Using faith-based principles to help others achieve their personal or business goals.

What advice can you offer to new CERT members?

CERT provides a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Allen and others during natural or man-made disaster. Continue growing your knowledge by participating in the various projects and training the CERT membership provides.

What aspect(s) of CERT training has the largest impact on your life?

The training reinforced some of my previous emergency and medical response training. As a result; I feel that I’m better prepared to respond to an incident.

Welcoming The New Chief

From the City of Allen:

City of Allen Names New Fire Chief

chief jon boyd

Jonathan Boyd, City of Allen Assistant Fire Chief of Operations, will assume the position of the city’s next fire chief on August 4. Boyd has served as Assistant Chief of Operations since 2012 and brings extensive education and experience of the department into his new role.

City Manager Peter Vargas said, “Jon is the perfect fit to continue the department’s high-level of service and excellence that’s been recognized nationwide. He has been instrumental in leading many innovative training protocols, service improvements, and growth-related expansion efforts over the years.”

Boyd began his career with the City of Allen Fire Department in 1996, promoting to Division Chief in 2005 and Assistant Chief of Operations in 2012. In his role as Assistant Chief, he managed a $14 million operations budget with oversight of 98 employees. He instituted team-based EMS training using a simulation mannequin. This training resulted in a 25 percent decrease in time spent on-scene while improving overall quality of care and survivability. Boyd worked with a team to change dispatch procedures and implement new technology that reduced call processing time from over two minutes to 22 seconds on average. He also created a new leadership development program that works to prepare employees physically and mentally in service to the community.

Boyd said, “I believe excellence is accomplished through continuous improvement. It takes constant review of practices and procedures to refine and adapt to changes in service demand. It also takes an excellent team with those who have a desire to do more than they have to so the organization can move together to the next level.”

As Division Chief, Boyd managed the implementation of new radio system, computer-aided dispatch, and records management system. He has been involved with all aspects of fire station construction, equipment purchasing, training and employee relations. Following his early training as a firefighter and paramedic, he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in 2011 and received his Master of Public Affairs from UTD in 2013. He graduated from the Executive Fire Officer Program of the National Fire Academy in 2017.

Boyd said, “The City of Allen is a community driven by excellence. Through dedication to public service and an unwavering focus on our mission, I plan to continue our department’s history of innovative leadership in fire service and outstanding service to our community.”

Boyd will serve as the third fire chief in Allen since the department was formalized by City Council in 1963. He has been a resident of Allen since 2005 with his wife Amanda, son JD, and daughter Meg.

2018 Allen Preparedness Expo

Disasters Happen – Prepare Now

September is National Preparedness Month and, as usual, we celebrate by hosting the annual Allen Preparedness Expo. Several community-based and professional organizations such as AFD, COP, CFA, and Minuteman Disaster Response will bring their exhibits. This is a free, family-friendly event that is open to the general public.

Stop by Lowe’s Home Improvement, September 15th, 09:00 – 14:00 to learn what you can do to prepare yourself, your family, and your business for a disaster, and see what resources and services are provided for you in the City of Allen. There will be activities for kids and adults.

Exhibits include:

  • Allen Community Emergency Response Team
  • Amateur Radio organizations
  • Allen Animal Shelter (Animal Control)
  • Allen Police Department
  • Citizens on Patrol (COP)
  • Citizens Fire Academy
  • Allen Fire Department
  • Minuteman Disaster Response

Volunteer Registration

Note: There is a known issue with the sign up form that results in a timeout error upon submission. Registration details are still being processed in the face of this error so please click the button only once.

Getting to Know Charrie Mascio

Next time you see Charrie Mascio, it would be well worth your time to strike up conversation. As someone with an incredible amount of certifications, expertise, experience, and determination, when Charrie sets her mind to something it gets done with style.

Where were you born? And tell us about your childhood home(town).

I was born in San Fernando, La Union, Philippines.  A small rural community about seven hours by bus, north of Manila.  Not too far from the coast of the South China Sea.  It is the capital of La Union province, so it was an important city for local commerce and trade, along with several colleges and private schools.  Growing up, I went to a private Chinese school then went to Manila for college.

What brought you to Allen, TX?

I was given the opportunity of a Physical Therapy job in Tyler, TX.  I chose to pursue it and moved to the US.  It was a scary move, not knowing any one here in the States.  After working in Tyler for a while, I became a traveling therapist, and in my travels met John, who would become my husband.  We eventually decided to move to Allen about 12 years ago and build our house.

Tell us about your immediate family (including any pets).

I have a twin sister still in the Philippines, who is a Doctor in Manila.  Here, I have my husband, John, and two cats.  When we got married, John had a cat, then we adopted others, and thanks to a very pregnant Snowie, we had 8 cats.  Over time, they have aged, and we only have two left, Tiger and Mi Kee (pronounced “Mikey”).

What do you do for a living and what do you like about it?

I have been a physical therapist for about 23 years now.  I have seen many changes in the field in that time.  I like working with my patients and seeing them get better.  I work mostly with geriatric patients in nursing home settings.

What TV shows do you consider “binge-worthy”?

Lately, I’ve been binge watching the old 1970’s series “Emergency”.  It makes you realize how far the fire department has come in the paramedic program since its early days.  But I have binged on “Xena”, “Hercules”, “Star Gate”, and “Charmed”.  Normally, I like watching the two Hallmark channels to get my dose of love stories and mysteries.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and what is next on your list?

My two greatest accomplishments were becoming a Doctor and, just recently, getting promoted to fourth degree black belt in martial arts.  Currently, I do not have a major goal, but my goal-in-progress is toward something more spiritual and community oriented.

What is your favorite (historical or recurring) CERT event?

I enjoy the yearly graduation disaster simulation.  After going through my graduation, and getting a bit stuck in Med Ops, it is nice to have the opportunity to see a broader view of the whole process and how the different CERT roles need to work together to effectively manage a crisis.

What advice can you give newer CERT members?

Be open minded and enjoy what you are doing.  Get involved in the CEU classes and get your Amateur Radio license.

How has CERT made an impact on your life, personally and professionally?

The biggest impact is the opportunity to get to know my community.  It has made me more aware of what is in my community, and allows me the opportunity to give something back.