Category Archives: Members

Allen CERT Answers the Call

For those that participated in the March 23 simulation, the next day was a bit of deja-vu. Just 36 hours after practicing a damage assessment, Allen was hit by a massive hail storm and CERT was activated immediately following.

The call from AFD came at 7:00 pm and by 7:30 pm, a net was in progress and a command post was underway at Central Station. The first damage assessment team was formally dispatched at 7:30 which is incredible and, some damage was reported by Responders in route to Central Station via GroupMe which allowed early awareness on the location, extent, and degree of damage.

An incident action plan went into affect quickly and Operations was able to rapidly aggregate the location of damage reports and the areas impacted by the hail across north Allen.

Multiple assets proved invaluable to the effectiveness of our efforts. The N5UIG repeater’s recent enhancements provided reliable communication with all teams deployed across the city – as did skilled operators running the net. Large maps, both satellite image and streets, were instrumental in developing a plan and documenting damage. Having access to the Ron Gentry Training Facility supplied plenty of tables, chairs, lighting, power, parking, and creature comforts that allowed command staff to focus on the action plan. Most of all, having numerous, skilled, and capable members present and participating greatly helped the operation progress and evolve as needed.

The response effort was not without its challenges and shortcomings but the program accomplished all set objectives within a three-hour time span, delivered actionable intelligence to the authorities, and sent everyone home safely. The Allen Fire Department leadership on site expressed pride in the professionalism, precision, and expediency that was displayed by Allen CERT that evening.

We have collected observations and feedback from multiple Responders that participated in the effort and will be taking action to further improve our response operations. Allen CERT members should be proud to be part of a capable and recognized program that continues to serve the residents of Allen Texas.

Calling all handy men and women!

We have received some new equipment for the trailers, including exterior scene lighting, enhanced interior lighting, and a battery-based auxiliary power system that will greatly enhance our mobile response experience, scene safety, and longevity in the field.

These items will be installed on Sunday, April 14, and we can use all the help we can get to make it happen.

This will be an all-day activity at Central Station that starts at 8:00 am and continues until we can get everything back into the trailer after the installation is completed, or we run out of daylight. Therefore, you are welcome to help out for as long as you are available, coming and going as your schedule permits. Lunch will be provided.

Most of the work being performed is electrical but we there is a bit of woodworking involved and a full inventory of all supplies will be part of this job. Feel free to bring whatever tools and hardware you think will help.

This will be a very fun and rewarding day – hope to see you there!

Spring Exercise Recap

Trying something new

Our spring simulation offers us a chance to test our dispatch protocols, activation timing, mobilization, and Incident Command expertise. For the first time ever, we added a twist: Doing all of this in a parking lot with just what we have in the trailers.

At 0815 on Saturday, March 23, select members arrived at Central Station following a standby order, only to find that the building was damaged in the preceding storm and was not suitable to serve as a command post. 30 minutes later, we activated the Allen CERT membership with instructions to report to our secondary staging area: Allen High School.

Both CERT trailers were transported to the high school parking lot within 15 minutes and, by 0900, several responders had arrived at the staging area. By 0920, both trailers were unloaded, a command structure was established, net control was up and running, and the first damage assessment team was receiving their assignment briefing. That means that, from activation to mobilization, we baseline at just over an hour – not bad at all considering the command post had to be relocated.

At 1115, the final assignment had been completed and teams were in route back to the command post where we debriefed and documented observations on both the action plan, and our ability to mobilize a command post.

What did we learn?

Maps are vital; Having a large satellite-image map of the city is extremely helpful when developing an action plan and determining where to send resources.

The generator upgrades, courtesy of William Ingram, was instrumental in starting the generator quickly and providing the power needed to run a radio net within the trailer.

Unloading the trailers is relatively quick, considering almost everything can just be pulled out and set to the side. However, loading the trailers is time-consuming and can delay operations if relocation is required during an active incident.

Because this was an exercise, no medical or extrication equipment was leveraged so no evaluation was performed. This will be evaluated during and after our fall exercise.

Milestone briefings are often overlooked and should be considered an improvement opportunity for the program, as we tend to be anxious to send resources into the field. Remembering to pause at the top and ensure everyone is running on the same rail will mitigate overlap throughout the event.

Communications still proves to be a strength for Allen CERT. With the right equipment and skilled operators, we can establish a net and communicate effectively between teams to relay information and fold intelligence into the next phase of the incident action plan.

Communication cannot overstep documentation, and documentation cannot be done properly without communication before and during an assignment (e.g., assignment briefings, standardization, reporting criteria, etc.). Having a plethora of dry-erase boards was extremely helpful for tracking accountability.

What’s next?

The program has been purchasing equipment and supplies to greatly improve a mobile command experience. We are also working to create an activation playbook that will outline the progressive steps for notifying responders, establishing a command structure, developing an action plan, assigning tasks, and documenting results.

Overall, our response capabilities are excellent, as observed internally and externally. Additionally, we have an excellent baseline response time and any improvement to that metric will be considered a huge accomplishment.

Attending events and training opportunities is a great way to keep your skills sharp. Even the smallest of events can help sharpen a skill that folds into our holistic skill set.

Do you have ideas on how we can improve our capabilities? Our Monthly Membership Meeting is open to all members and is held at La Madeleine on the fourth Wednesday, 7:30 pm, of each month.

Farewell, from Dave Campbell

To start off, as Bob Hope sang for so many the years, “Thanks for the Memory”.

Unlike a lot of people who have were born here or have been here for many more years, I moved to Allen from the state of Ohio in 1997. Our house was built in Beacon Hill on the west side. That was when McDermott was a 2-lane road.

It was in 2003 when I registered for the Allen Citizens Fire Academy. Class #2 of CFA was definitely an educational experience, but also a uniquely fun class as well. Some say that it’s still being talked about to this day in subsequent CFA classes. It was then that I met Linda Greenidge, Public Education Coordinator, more commonly known as “LG”, we called her “Fire Mom”. We all know her role in the Allen Fire Department, but she became a dear friend to my wife and me and has been so for several years. I guess it was then that I got the ‘fire bug’.

In 2005, Linda came to me and said Chief Hawley wanted to start a CERT program…….whatever that was. Linda had already gone through a Train-the-trainer class; therefore, Joey Herald and I went to Garland for 3 days and went through the TTT class as well. As Allen CERT would later be known for their exceptional performance along the years, Joey and I initially started this trend during one of the TTT classes by performing an extraction exercise under conditions in which we were not expected to accomplish. Through several planning sessions, Linda Greenidge, Joey Herald and I started the Allen CERT program and held our first class in the Fall of 2006.

In 2007, many personal changes occurred, and I moved to the east side. Moving from the west side to the east gave me a wider experience in the city’s topology. My wife Charie has been by my side and so supportive of everything I have been involved with in the City of Allen including her participation as well.

Allen CERT was initially established under the Prevention Division of the Fire Department under the Fire Marshal due to its education value in prevention and responding. However, after the program’s first actual response in April of 2008 when an EF-0 tornado went through Allen, the program was transferred to the Operations Division under the auspices of C-Shift Battalion and Administrative Captain.

Due to favorable circumstances, Charie and I decided to buy her parent’s property an hour away in Scurry (Kaufman County) in 2013. It consisted of a main house, guest/rent house, utility barn and a pond on 8 acres. We continued to maintain it as we had since 2009. It was our intention to eventually move there at some point in time, assuming around my retirement time frame. Her parents would continue to live there as long as they wanted. Not knowing when our move would take place, I decided to find a coordinator replacement who had the same passion and drive for the CERT program as I had over the years. That person was Chris Diltz. Our transition over the period of a year went like clockwork. He not only took this volunteer position eagerly and effectively, but greatly improved it and modernized the program. It had been a blessing and a privilege to have served as Allen CERT Coordinator for the previous 10 years.

In addition to continuing to assist LG in many of the CFA classes, in 2014 I found myself once again working with her with the newly forming Allen Rehab Team (ART). The Rehab Team is the team of CFA members that have agreed to respond to incidents that require the Heavy Rescue vehicle to be called out. My involvement started out with reviewing the new policies and procedure manual, continued work with other members and Station 5 with numerous practice scenarios and familiarization training on the Heavy Rescue. Then several of us ended up responding to a number of live fires. As an Allen Rehab Team member, our team volunteered to assist the AFD by supporting our firefighters, as well as surrounding city’s firefighters, with aid and comfort during any incident of sufficient magnitude and duration warranting the need for the support services provided by the Rehab Team and Heavy Rescue.

August of 2018 brought us a new Fire Chief, Jonathan Boyd. I knew and respected Chief Boyd for years at the Fire Department when he handled training and many other duties and was excited to see him take over this new role.

Most recently, through gentle persuasion from good friend Tammy Ingram, it was also a privilege and honor to serve on the board of the Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association of Allen, TX with her, Ken Seggerman and Lynne Hogan. I had been on the board when the non-profit organization was formed but took a break from it to support CERT. Being involved in the first CFA Fundraiser Dinner in 2018 was also a treat. Speaking of Ken, he and his wife Margaret, being our wonderful neighbors, have also been involved in CFA since Class #1 and have shown their support for the Fire Department as volunteers all these years.

On a personal side, in January 2017, Charie’s dad went home to be with the Lord and then her mother followed in October of 2018. With that, we decided to start the process of taking the 26-year old house and having some substantial interior remodeling done. This started around Christmas of last year. Great progress has been made removing a dated ceiling style throughout and five rooms of wallpaper, applying texturing and painting the entire interior and laying of tile and laminate throughout the house.

Along with the building of strong relationships with the so many Allen Fire-Rescue personnel over the years, I also met a number of awesome personnel with law enforcement. I initially met Chief Brian Harvey with the Allen Police Department during his orientation in 2012 and was impressed with him from the start. I continued to have discussions with him in person and via email. Along with Chief Harvey, I also met Collin County Jim Skinner and had discussions with him. I also met and had great conversations with other Allen Police officers. Just as with the Allen Fire-Rescue, I’ve always appreciated their service.

Many other city employees made great impressions with me, such as Mayor Stephen Terrell. City Manager Peter Vargas, several council members, ACTV’s Executive Producer Mark Kaufman and his staff, to name a few. From an AFD administrative perspective, Shauna Body has always been a big help as well through the years.

With so many Allen Fire Department, Citizens Fire Academy, CERT and Rehab administrative and member friendships built through years here in Allen, the closeness from a geographic perspective will be greatly missed.

With the remodeling of the house in Scurry, our planned move is the end of February 2019. While it is was relatively easy to transition the CERT program over to Chris, leaving Allen after 20 years is a bit difficult. However, my wife and I are very excited about the upcoming move as a ‘New Chapter’ in our lives. My cell number and email address will remain [contact admin] and [contact admin]. As of March of this year, we will be residing at [contact admin].

So, with all that said, to continue quoting from the song Bob Hope sang, “Thank you so much”.

Thank you!

Dave Campbell

What’s In Your Bag?

The fifth-annual “Backpack Class” is back for 2019!

Whether you have some new gear to show off or you just want to get ideas on what to put in your pack, this is the event for you.

Join us at Station 5 on March 6th, 6:30 PM for the backpack pow-wow. Captain Clamon’s team (5A) will be joining us to provide their insight and expertise. Bring a folding/collapsible chair if you don’t want to sit on the floor.

Fire Station 5 is located at the intersection of McDermott and Shallowater Dr

Allen Recycles Day

Help Wanted

The City of Allen will be hosting this semi-annual cleanup event at City Hall this Saturday and have called on Allen CERT again to assist with traffic and crowd management. Volunteers will need to arrive at 7:00 AM and the event runs until 2:00 PM or until the line disappears.

This is a fun and face-paced event that is sure to increase your confidence in handling traffic and radio communications. Lunch is also provided: Burgers and hot dogs on the grill!

We need a minimum of 8 (eight) volunteers to pull this off so let’s show the City we can deliver.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • J.Mascio
  • C.Mascio
  • S.Potter
  • T.Potter

The Rudolph Run is Back!

The end-of-year marathon is back and Allen Parks & Recreation have asked us to return. This year’s marathon takes place on December 1st, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM. We first joined this event last year with the role of monitoring the race course at specified checkpoints and communicating any problems to race course officials. We manage two races: a .5k “fun run” and a 5k that snakes through downtown and up Cedar Drive.

Our role will be similar this year if not expanded. If you are looking to leverage your amateur radio capabilities, this is the event for you. Sign up below to reserve your spot on the team.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • B.Kilgore
  • N.vdUpwich
  • L.Hardy
  • J.Mascio
  • C.Mascio
  • C.Alvarez
  • A.Alvarez
  • J.Litteral
  • W.Hernandez
  • T.Potter
  • S.Potter
  • R.Perez
  • R.Perez
  • S.Perez
  • G.Campbell
  • C.Smith
  • K.Smith
  • T.Westfall
  • C.King

Allen Christmas Parade

We did it – we are in the parade this year!

The Allen Rotary Club Christmas Parade is scheduled for December 2nd and begins at 2:00 PM. The parade runs through downtown Allen, beginning near First Baptist Church and ending near the Heritage Village. The details for our display are still being worked out but we want a big presence for our first ever participation. Let’s show our community that Allen CERT is here and ready to serve.

If you are interested in representing Allen CERT in this year’s parade, please sign up below and we will include you in necessary communications.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • B.Kilgore
  • K.Spock
  • T.Ingram
  • W.Ingram

New Events Added

A few exciting volunteer and training opportunities have been added to the CERT calendar! Sign up is enabled below each event detail.

Allen Recycles Day

Nov 3, 0700 – 1300

The City of Allen will be hosting this semi-annual cleanup event at City Hall next month and have called on Allen CERT again to assist with traffic and crowd management.

Rudolph Run

Dec 1, 0600 – 1000

The end-of-year marathon is back and Allen Parks & Recreation have asked us to return. We first joined this event last year with the role of monitoring the race course at specified checkpoints and communicating any problems to race course officials. Our role will be similar this year if not expanded. If you are looking to leverage your amateur radio capabilities, this is the event for you.

Allen Rotary Christmas Parade

Dec 2, 1300 – 1600

We did it – we are in the parade this year! The details are still being worked out but we want a big presence for our first ever participation in Allen’s Christmas Parade. Let’s show our community that Allen CERT is here and ready to serve.