Category Archives: Newsletter 2017.12

Rudolph Run Recap

On Saturday, December 2nd, 14 Allen CERT members arrived at downtown Allen before daybreak to take up posts along Cedar Drive in our first ever participating in the annual Rudolph Run.

Allen Parks & Recreation solicited our help with monitoring the race course and communicating runner progress along with any safety/security concerns for the 3,000+ runners participating in the event.

A couple of minor incidents (injury, missing child) were reported and solved by CERT members but overall, the race was a huge success for both CERT and Parks & Recreation.

We very much appreciate the engagement from Parks & Rec and certainly look forward to assisting in any capacity for next year’s race!

2017 Disaster Simulation Debrief

Every year, a fresh group of Allen residents put 8 weeks and 24 hours of classroom training to the test by being throw into the ultimate simulated disaster. For the students, this day is a critical step to convert training into experience. However, equally important, is the opportunity for the Allen CERT program to exercise old and new tactics for managing an incident, and setting the class up for success. Following each simulated disaster, we make it a priority to sit around the table and evaluate our methods to ensure we are continually improving planning and execution for future classes. This year was no different, and the team – made up of veteran and brand new members – pulled together a robust list of strengths and opportunities identified in this year’s exercise that will translate into a better experience next year.

Big Wins

We set several new records this year; First, by facilitated the largest class in Allen CERT history this year with 44 students (now members) participating in the final exercise.

A large-scale call to action resulted in over 110 volunteers from around Allen playing various victim roles.

32 Allen CERT members showed up on “simulation day” to contribute 340 hours to the event’s success.

We also implemented new tools and techniques, such as reusable triage cards and a magnetic ICS accountability board, both of which proved valuable.

Key Strengths

Many of the volunteer victims were “walking wounded” which added more chaos to the mix and tested the class’ ability to clear the fog of a disaster scene.

The class managed to complete the exercise in record time!

 

Following the exercise, AFD 5C-shift hosted a panel discussion that was very engaging, helped stitch together holistic operations, and allowed the class an opportunity to evaluate their strengths.

To top it off, we were extremely fortunate to have transportation and security graciously donated by the Allen Independent School District!

Key Improvement Opportunities

Communications is one our strongest pillars and remains so because we prioritize its ongoing evaluation.

This year is no different and we recognized several opportunities to simplify, expand, and/or improve our disaster simulation communications model.

Resource check-in was quickly bottle-necked which resulted in a slow start to search and rescue operations. This was largely caused by the sheer size of the class but, with the increasing forecast of future classes, some excellent ideas were proposed for mitigating this in the future – a solution is being tested already with great initial results.

We quickly discovered that 110 volunteer victims introduce more oversight and management complexity. Going forward, a more robust briefing, instructions, and management model will help mitigate volunteer/responder confusion.

Summary

We make a huge effort to implement new tools and tactics into each disaster simulation which undoubtedly produces both positive and negative results. We consider this success because, without negative results, we do not innovate.

Hat tip to Traci Reavis for organizing this year’s (and past years’) disaster simulation and facilitating the debrief.

We are all looking forward to next  year!

2018 Allen CERT Banquet

The annual Allen CERT Banquet is on!

…and some things are changing

Formerly known as the Meet & Greet, our annual banquet aims to provide an opportunity to reconnect with fellow CERT members, get to know our newest class. In addition, we will be celebrating some major accomplishments over 2017 and previewing what’s in store for 2018.

This year, the banquet will be on Thursday, January 18th, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

No need to bring a dish!

This year, Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ will host and cater the event. This means you can leave that crockpot and the stress at home.

 

The event is just $10/person, over 5 years of age, and covers entry, raffle ticket, and meal (2 meats, 2 sides, and a drink). Additional food, adult beverages, and desserts can be purchased on site. No charge for kids 5 and under.

Reserve your tickets below…

…and, as always, please bring your family so they can meet your CERT family!

RSVP

Tickets are no longer available.

2018 Event Calendar

Ready for the New Year

Events for 2018 are now posted to our shared calendar and a few things are changing. Here’s a summary of what to expect starting January 01:

  • Steering Committee Meetings will move to the 4th Wednesday of each month. The start time of 19:30 and location remain the same. This will allow us to focus on the events and planning activities for the upcoming month.
  • Meet & Greet will be re-branded as the Annual Banquet and will adopt a new format and location. Stay tuned for details.
  • Amateur Radio Nets will continue on their current schedule; 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, 20:00 – 21:00.
  • Basic Training is slated to begin September 9th and continue through October 27th. An orientation will take place 3 weeks prior to start on August 16th.
  • Continuing Education classes are still being scheduled. The popular “backpack” class has been slated for February 15th at Station 5. We will be searching for training classes offered by ancillary organizations and updating the calendar accordingly.
  • A heavy focus will be placed on maintaining the trailers and equipment this year, often using events at Central Station as an opportunity to exercise the generator and chainsaws. There are minor upgrades planned for both trailers that will streamline storage and organization. Reach out to John Mascio if you have an interest in getting involved.

Stay In The Know

As always, you can subscribe to our calendar by clicking here, or view the calendar any time from our website.