2017 has been another banner year for our program. Let’s take a look at some of our achievements.
All in, we collectively logged 2,079 hours – WOW! That’s is a 24% increase from 2016. Of 174 active members, 76 participated in at least one event, which equates to a 44% participation rate – another increase over last year. Those 76 volunteers averaged 27 hours per person. Quite impressive!
|Mike Pruden||156||William Ingram||93|
|Chris Smith||119||Randy Jones||82|
|Traci Reavis||118||Kenneth Spock||78|
|Linda Hardy||99||Joy Litteral||57|
|John Mascio||96||Brian LeVasseur||44|
|William Ingram||93||Dave Lindberg||40|
|Randy Jones||82||Tommy Baril||37|
|Dave Campbell||78||Paula Bramble||36|
|Kenneth Spock||78||Tammy Ingram||36|
|Neal van der Upwich||72||Shannon Kelley||32|
July 8 Severe Thunderstorm
Allen was hit by severe winds and flash flooding on July 8, 2017. CERT was quickly called into action and tasked with damage assessments. 25 responders showed up to the EOC and contributed a total of 73 to the effort. Click here to read more.
The entire country watched as Harvey approached the gulf coast. CERT activation was anticipated but the function was undetermined. Shortly after Harvey made landfall, North Texas CERTs were engaged to assist with local shelters. 16 Allen CERT members responded over the course of 6 weeks and contributed 182 hours to Dallas-area shelters. Click here to read more about our involvement.
At the onset of 2017, we were presented with a growing membership and a limitation in our current dispatch platform. We assembled a new model that leveraged new applications for disseminating activation messages, communicating updates, and documenting intelligence. This platform was tested for the first time during our simulated dispatch in the spring and proved a major success.
Our equipment has been a major focus of 2017. Both trailers have undergone several makeovers. At the beginning of the year, we had a “Response Trailer” and a “Promotional Trailer”. By year-end, we effectively have two response trailers that can be leveraged during a deployment. New shelving has been installed to store quick-access and smaller items. Both trailers received a non-skid coating on the floor and ramp. Battery-operated, motion-sensing lighting has been installed for easier (and safer) access to contents during dark hours.
We have added some new tools that will effect search and rescue operations. Namely, a 48″ farm jack and a the biggest set of bolt cutters you’ve ever seen – affectionately dubbed the “CERT Master Key”.
Several inventories have been performed this year. Most recently, 14 team members spend over 4 hours logging every piece of equipment contained in both trailers, and reorganizing them for sensible access and towing weight balance.
In the spring, we kicked off a recurring net aimed at exercising radio communication operations for all CERT members. Participation has been consistent all year and we have seen a confidence boost as a result. Expect this to continue through 2018.
In addition, the use of radios has been implemented into almost every event we have either hosted or participated in throughout the year – proving our commitment to ongoing emergency communications professionalism and capability.
Several Technician Licensing courses (and one General License course) were organized and offered this year, which – coupled with existing operators in this year’s class – directly led to the addition of 17 new radio operators on the Allen CERT roster. We now have 59 licensed operators which accounts for over 30% of our active responders.
When we received over 50 applications by mid-year, it was clear we had a challenge on our hands. But, that did not sway our dedication to the residents of Allen who show an interest in receiving the life-saving training we offer. Our team of instructors, over the course of several meeting, developed some creative solutions for facilitating a class twice the size of anything we’ve seen in the past. The introduction of an orientation, staggered hands-on activities, equipment reallocation, etc., resulted in an effective Basic Training course and a 25% increase to our membership. The experience provided many lessons-learned that will feed back into next year’s class, as we expect equal or greater number of students for 2018.
We are also fortunate to have added 4 new instructors to the roster. Mike Pruden, Noreen O’Connell, Chris Smith, and Linda Hardy are familiar names in our program and now you can expect to see them teaching Basic Training courses for years to come.
Our program has participated in, or hosted, a total of 66 events this year – no joke. In addition to some new training that we organized, we were invited to several new events – Earthfest, Great American Cleanup, Arbor Day, and Rudolph Run – which is a reflection of our reputation in the community.
On the heels of a record-breaking class size, the Disaster Simulation has high expectations to live up to every year. Yet, without fail, it just gets better and better. This is largely thanks to the incredible planning and execution abilities of our Simulation Coordinator, Traci Reavis, who sets the bar higher with each passing year. This year, we saw a record number of volunteers – over 100 – and the addition of professional make-up artists to perform moulage. The location was another victory – Ford Middle School – which provided a variety of scenes for victims and students alike.
As the new year approaches and we get anxious about implementing all of the ideas that accumulated year-to-date, we must reflect on our incredible accomplishments that bolster our value, purpose, and reputation in this community. The residents of Allen – knowingly or unknowingly – can and should take comfort in the fact that, going into 2018, there are 200 trained citizens that are ready to help at a moment’s notice and have continually demonstrated a passion for doing so.