Category Archives: Training

FEMA Releases Revised IS-100.c And IS-700.b Courses

FEMA has just released two revised online NIMS courses a couple days ago:

 IS-100.c, An Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100
This course introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. The course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
IS-100.c, An Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100
This course provides an overview of NIMS. NIMS defines the comprehensive approach guiding the whole community – all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the private sector – to work together seamlessly to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the effects of incidents. The course provides learners with a basic understanding of NIMS concepts, principles, and components.

Together, these two online courses form the foundation of NIMS training for all incident personnel.

 The classroom versions of IS-100.c and IS-700.b are also under revision and will be released later this summer.
Please note that IS-100.c and IS-700.b are updated versions of the IS-100.b and IS-700.a courses. If you have successfully completed a previous version of these courses there is no FEMA requirement to take the revised versions of the courses. However, because these courses contain new information based on the revised NIMS, October 2017, you may find it informative to review the new versions of these courses.

Disaster Animal Response: Recap and Part II

In case you missed it, our Disaster Animal Response class was split into two parts.

In Part I, we discussed the elements that animals add to disaster response planning and operations, as well as pet owner preparedness best practices. This class had a wonderful turnout and very positive feedback. Our instructor, Debi Michnick (Allen Animal Control Supervisor), walked us through animal behavior and early aggression indicators. She was even gracious enough to prepare and distribute disaster pet preparedness plans for us to take home.

If you missed Part I, don’t worry, you can still attend Part II! Our next session is scheduled for July 16th, same time and place – 6:30 at Central. In the next class, Debi will be teaching us techniques for handling animals in a disaster scene. Expect a very interactive experience with hands-on demonstrations.

No registration is necessary, simply show up by 6:30 to take advantage of this incredible training opportunity.

Basic Training Updates

You spoke, we listened!

Our team of instructors has been meeting weekly for the past couple months to re-evaluate our Basic Training curriculum to ensure we continue to provide the best-in-class experience that the City of Allen is known for.

While we still have some some decisions to make, here are  some changes our future classes will have to look  forward to, based on your feedback:

  • Shorter classroom time
  • More hands-on exercises
  • Combined class with more instructor involvement
  • Upgraded nametags/IDs with digital sign-in capabilities
  • Rearranged syllabus to better align with end-to-end CERT response

Remember, our annual Basic Training is open to existing CERT members; Whether you’re looking for refresher training or want to help out.

We are excited to employee these changes and meet our 2018 class in August for orientation!

Disaster Animal Response Training

June 14, 6:30 PM

You asked for it! Since cancelling the class last July, we have been pursuing another opportunity to delivery this training due to popular demand. Well, the wait is over!

The Allen Animal Shelter will join us at Central Station on Thursday, June 14th, 6;30 – 8:30 PM to teach us the important considerations of pet emergency preparedness and handling animals during disaster response operations.

Seating is limited so RSVP today!

Amateur Radio Class & Exam

May 19 – May 20, 2018

The Plano Amateur Radio Club will be presenting a Technician level amateur radio class on May 19th and 20th, 2018. The class will be held at the Allen Central Fire Station training center, which is located at 310 Century Parkway, in Allen TX.  As always the class is free, the EXAM is $14.00 cash. We are looking at a timeframe of 8:00am- 5:00pm on Saturday and 8:00am- 3:00pm on Sunday, with the EXAM  starting  at 3:00 pm on Sunday.  Limited parking should be available  on the north side of the fire station. Additional parking is available across the street (Century Parkway), at the City of Allen municipal complex.

To prepare for this class, we urge you to pick up a copy of the Ham Radio School’s Technician Class study guide prior to the class, and read through the course material at least once. If you prepare by reading through the study guide, and marking any items that you have questions about, and then pay attention and ask questions during the two day training class, there is an excellent probability that you will pass the exam with a high score.  Other Technician License Study Guides are available locally at the Ham Radio Outlet store 701 E. Plano Parkway Suite 406, across the street from Fry’s Electronics in Plano.

A government issued photo ID will be required to take the exam on Sunday afternoon (FCC Requirement).  Other amateur radio class exams (General,Extra) will also be available for those wishing to take those exams. For these advanced exams, you will need to bring a copy of your current amateur radio license.

 To register for this class…

or if you have additional questions, please send an email to Mike Pruden at NN5ZZ@ARRL.NET. Please provide:

  • Name (first and last)
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

so we can contact you with any questions.

Great American Cleanup 2018

Have you ever driven by City Hall on an early spring Saturday morning and observed a mile-long line of vehicles with junk poking out of all the windows? Twice a year, The City of Allen hosts it’s Great American Cleanup which serves as a chance for Allen residents to “Dump or donate almost anything at Allen’s biggest cleanup event!”

But there’s a recurring problem; It’s less about the line of cars wrapped around Century Pkwy and more about the same cars as they navigate through the City Hall parking lot. That’s where we come in. The City has reached out to Allen CERT seeking help with overseeing the safety of volunteers in the parking lot.

To answer the call, we are looking for 8-12 volunteers (more welcome) for Saturday, April 28th, 07:30 – 13:00. If needed – and enough volunteers are involved – shifts can be established.

Sign Up Now


  • Chris D
  • Joe W
  • Brent W
  • Joan B
  • Traci R
  • Kenneth S
  • Carl C
  • Noreen O
  • Ty W
  • Joy L
  • Kim S
  • Chris S

SSTV with William Ingram

Our very own William Ingram will be presenting an overview and demonstration of Slow Scan TV (SSTV) for amateur radio operators on April 10th during the McKinney Amateur Radio Club (MARC) regular meeting on April 10th.

William has been experimenting with and mastering SSTV for some time now and recently demonstrated its capabilities during our spring Simulated Dispatch. The image below was taken by William and transmitted over the Lucas repeater to the Net Control station at the EOC during our exercise.

If you are interested in SSTV and its applications, you can attend the MARC meeting on April 10th, 7:00 PM at Spring Creek BBQ in McKinney.

Click here for the original article in the MARC April Newsletter.


Dallas CERT Spring Training Express

Circle April 21st on your calendar!

Dallas CERT is opening their Spring Training Express to all CERTs in the region and you don’t want to miss this lineup. This will be an all-day event with a morning session, lunch, and an afternoon session. Training topics this year include:

  • Trauma and Tactical Medicine for CERT
  • Pet Preparedness
  • CERT Gear
  • Run, Hide, Fight Analysis
  • Stop The Bleed
  • Arboviruses

During lunch, we will have an opportunity to visit with CERTs from around North Central Texas, shop for CERT gear, and even participate in an auction.

To Register

  1. Click here to sign up
  2. You will immediately receive an email providing you with the link to pay the $15 event fee.
  3. Within 24-48 hours, you will receive an email from Cassandra Wallace ( confirming receipt of your payment and providing you with a temporary login and link for Volgistics/Vicnet (the system that you will utilize to register for the event sessions. **Note that this step MUST be completed – you will not have a way to signup for the event sessions without login/password.**
  4. After receipt of the email in #3, log into Volgistics/Vicnet (you may favorite this link in your browser OR you can always access it via and click on the Volgistics Member Login button near the top of the page.  If you have any issues logging in or need a password reset, please contact Cassandra Wallace at
  5. Click on “Check Your Schedule” on the left side which will take you to the Calendar.
  6. In April, you will see a “Help Wanted” bubble on April 21 – the date for Spring Training Express.  Click on the bubble.
  7. You will now see all sessions offered.  We encourage EVERYONE to signup for the (exciting) Keynote session (180421-A1).  Next you choose your “B” session (choose one of the four offerings).   You will see that the sessions repeat a second time beginning at 10:45am (“C” sessions) so be sure you choose one of the four “C” sessions that you wish to attend.  As you choose a session, it will indicate that you are successfully enrolled.

You are all set!  We will see you on April 21!


Can I register a group?

No.  Since registration requires individual selection of sessions, you must enter each person individually.

How much does this event cost?

$15 per person (includes continental breakfast, lunch and an event participation bag).  If you have any questions regarding the event fee, please contact Cassandra Wallace at or 214-671-8969.

Can I pay for multiple people?

If you want to pay for multiple people, yes you may do so.  Information on doing so is on the payment website.

I can/am only interested in attending a portion, can I do this?

We understand that your schedule may prevent you from attending the full day.  If you wish to attend only a portion, only choose those sessions in the time you can attend.  Full payment must still be made.

Who is invited?

All CERT volunteers in North Central Texas (16-counties) who have completed the G-317 course.

I know someone who is not a CERT but is involved a lot in emergency response, can they attend?

This program is for CERT volunteers in the North Central Texas region only.  You must have completed G-317 (Basic CERT course) and be affiliated with a North Central Texas CERT Program.

Where will this event be held?

It will be held at the Dallas Fire Rescue Training Center located at 5000 Dolphin Rd., Dallas, TX 75223.

Will there be parking?

Yes, there is plenty of parking (free) at the facility as you enter the gate.  You will receive an email with any necessary final details (including a map of the facility that denotes parking area) no later than April 14.

What is the time?

Registration and continental breakfast starts at 7:45am with the keynote and kickoff beginning at 8:15am.  Depending on which afternoon session you choose to attend, you will end either at 3pm or 5pm.

Should I bring my kit/pack?

This is up to you.  For some sessions, there is hands-on.  While necessary equipment will be provided, you may want to use your own.  And since there is a session on kits in the morning, if you are planning to you may find it helpful to have your kit – again, it is up to you.

Will sessions be taped and available online?


Are there limits on registration and attendance?

Yes, because of space and facilities, there are limits on sessions and exercises.  These vary depending on the session or exercise.  We encourage you register early to ensure you get your choices.

I want to know more, who can I contact?

There are several people and places:

General information is at

General questions can go to Cassandra Wallace, Dallas CERT Program Manager at or 214-671-8969.  David Cegelski, President, Dallas CERT Inc. at 214-801-2708.

This program is sponsored jointly by the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management Dallas CERT Program and Dallas CERT Inc., a nonprofit supporting CERT.

What else will be going on during the day?

Beyond the keynote and sessions, there will be a CERT Store where you can purchase CERT items and useful tools.  There will also be an auction where you could win CERT items and other cool things.

Will there be meals provided?

A continental breakfast and box lunch are included in your registration.  There will be a vegetarian option, if you need/want to bring your own breakfast/lunch/snacks, please feel free to do so – you will have access to a refrigerator and microwave if you need it.

My plans have changed and I need to cancel.  How do I do this?  Is there a refund?

We’ll miss you!  Information on how to cancel will be included in your confirmation.  Full refunds will be given for cancellations sent in before April 13.

For more information

You can visit the official Spring Training Express website or follow Dallas CERT on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates.

How to Read US National Grid (USNG) Maps

USNG is the preferred method of mapping landmarks during operations for Allen CERT. Every CERT member should be comfortable receiving and communicating USNG coordinates. Not sure what it is? No problem, we’ve got you covered…

The purpose of the USNG according to the FGDC, is to “create a more interoperable environment for developing location-based services within the United States and to increase the interoperability of location services appliances with printed map products by establishing a nationally consistent grid reference system as the preferred grid for NSDI applications. The U.S. National Grid is based on universally-defined coordinate and grid systems and can, therefore, be easily extended for use worldwide as a universal grid reference system.” 

It resembles the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). When the WGS84 datum or NAD83 datum is used, USNG and MGRS coordinates are “equivalent”.[2]

In addition, it has the advantage of being easily plotted on USGS topographic and other properly gridded maps by using a simple “read right and then up” convention where the user measures to the East and then North in linear increments. The coordinates are easily translated to distance as they are actually in meters rather than the more complex degree based increments of latitude and longitude. Thus the distance between two coordinates can quickly be determined in the field.

A USNG spatial address is broken down into three parts, the;

  • Grid Zone Designation; for a world-wide unique address.

  • 100,000-meter Square Identification; for regional areas.

  • Grid Coordinates; for local areas.

principal digits

This format allows a spatial address to be truncated (or another term might be abbreviated).  For example, stationary letterhead for the Department of Interior might portray the address as:

Department of Interior

1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

USNG: 18SUJ22850705 (NAD 83)

A complete USNG spatial address provides a unique value and is necessary for use with GPS receivers and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).  The USNG spatial address from the above stationary letterhead is for the building’s centroid.  On the other hand,  a Department of Interior employee might tell someone coming to visit from the local area, “Our south visitor’s entrance is located on 1849 C Street NW, at grid 22850694.”   Another spatial address might identify the north visitor’s entrance, and another set might identify the loading ramp for delivery vehicles.

Local Area; reading grid coordinates.  Grid coordinates are used to define a particular place within a local area (within a 100 by 100 kilometer area).  Coordinates are written along the sides of a map designating specific grid lines. (These grid lines are based on UTM values.)  The two larger numbers identify a grid line and are known as principal digits as depicted below.

reading grid coordinates, read right then up

To plot coordinate values, always read right, then up.  Coordinates are always given as an even number of digits so you know where to separate the easting and northing coordinates.  This allows you to abbreviate to the degree of precision you require within a local area.  Grid coordinates are used to define point features, such as a neighborhood, soccer field, a particular house, or even a parking place.  These require different levels of granularity.  For example;

4 digits – 2306 – locates a point with a precision of 1,000-meters (a neighborhood size area).

6 digits – 234064 – locates a point with a precision of 100-meters (a soccer field size area).

8 digits – 23480647 – locates a point with a precision of 10-meters (the size of a  modest home).

10 digits – 2348306479 – locates a point with a precision of 1-meter (within a parking spot).

In the following example, the Washington Monument is described as being located at grid 23480647 (think 2348 / 0647).  Read right to grid line 23 (using the principal digits).  Then count grid lines up to line 06.  This intersection is known as grid 2306.  This four digit value would give the location to within 1,000-meters.  Measuring right in meters from line 23, we find the Washington Monument is another 480 meters east. The complete easing component is 23480.  Measuring up in meters from grid line 06 the Monument is another 470-meters north.  The complete northing component is 05470.  We drop the 1-meter level values (shown as 0s in this case), and combining the easting and northing components, the grid coordinate is given as an eight digit value (to within 10-meters) as:

Grid: 23480647

Regional Area; 100,000-meter Square Identification.The USNG further divides the world into 100,000-meter squares and identifies these with two letter values.  The illustration below depicts the Washington, DC area.  In the spatial address for the Washington Monument (18SUJ23480647) you can see the monument falls within the 100,000-meter by 100,000-meter square designated UJ.  (Note: The yellow and red square outlines a 100 km x 100 km sized local area surrounding Washington, DC.)

washington monument

While the USNG is referred to as an alpha-numeric reference system for the UTM coordinate system, it is actually much more.  The lettering scheme for the 100,000-meter Square Identification is designed such that any two-letter combination will not repeat itself but every 18° of longitude and a similar area in latitude.  Thus any two letter prefix to a grid coordinate will provide a unique value within a very large area.  In the case of the Washington Monument, at UJ23480647, it’s location is uniquely designated within an area covering most of the east cost of the United States as depicted below.

power of truncated usng values

World-Wide Unique Values; Grid Zone Designations.  Working out from a local area, through regional areas, the last level of definition in a spatial address is the Grid Zone Designation.  The world is divided into 60 UTM Zones, each 6° degrees of longitude wide.  The numbering scheme for these begins at 180° longitude, and counts east.  The conterminous US is covered by Zones 10 through 19.   In a northing direction, the world is divided into 8° belts of latitude.  The conterminous US for example is covered by belts R, S, T, and U.  Thus the Washington, DC area falls within Grid Zone Designation 18S as depicted below.  This prefix identifies a unique US National Grid spatial address for the Washington Monument over the entire planet.  This complete, and unique spatial address is required for GPS receivers.

UTM/MGRS Grid Zone Designations

        To review, we can see a complete US National Grid spatial address contains three parts as we drill down to a unique location,

18S UJ 23480647

  • Grid Zone Designation (i.e. 18S).

  • 100,000-meter Square Identification (i.e. UJ ).

  • Grid coordinates of some even number of digits ranging from 2 to 10 (i.e. 23480647  In this case, eight digits identify a place of about the size of a modest home.).  You always read right, then up when plotting coordinates.

A spatial address is customarily written as a single string of values. Note how the horizontal datum (NAD 83) has been included:

USNG: 18SUJ23480647 (NAD 83)

For a more in depth presentation on USNG, click here

Toys for Your Backpacks

Last Thursday, more than 20 of us gathered in the roomy bay at Station 5 and shared ideas and examples of practical gear for CERT Responders. We examined it all, from apparel to bag styles to tools and medical supplies.

This year we took a different approach to the show-and-tell, going categorically instead of round-robin, which provided a much more interactive discussion as we stopped to philosophically discuss items of a similar application.

Captain Clamon’s team injected a wealth of insight throughout the evening and even gave us a demonstration of how to apply an Israeli compression bandage. We are grateful to our friends in the Allen Fire Department for their commitment to our growth and sustainability.

If you missed it, don’t worry – we documented all of the “cool” items and posted it online. Click here to take a look

Stay tuned for more training opportunities by checking our calendar and subscribing to posts on our website.