The CERT concept was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985 and endorsed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because it trains average citizens in how to assist others without getting into trouble themselves. "Fires go unabated, and gas leaks undetected," Dutton said, naming a few of the hazards that could pose a threat to an untrained citizen turned rescuer.
If there was an earthquake tomorrow, members of CERT would grab their gear and check their homes, making sure their families are safe, and then assess problems on their block. After that, members would meet at pre-designated command posts around Crescenta Valley to form teams that would delegate responsibilities to each member. They would then proceed to go through the sector assigned to the command post block-by-block to give their support where it's needed under the direction of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Department with Sgt. Randy Sulstrom. And if it's necessary, La Crescenta CERT teams can be redeployed to places elsewhere, such as Glendale or downtown Los Angeles, to aide professionals as auxiliary emergency response personnel.
CERT will also provide a preliminary assessment of a disaster situation to the Red Cross in order to help that organization deploy its resources more effectively.
As an integral part of any of their emergency strategies, Crescenta Valley CERT will also be using radios to relay information to one another. If those should fail, CERT has four licensed HAM radio operators that could relay messages between team members. HAM radio operators could also forward messages to GEARS, a volunteer HAM radio group at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's station, and communicate those messages elsewhere.
The next CERT training classes will be offered on Saturday, March 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, March 27, Wednesday, March 28, and Thursday, March 29 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. And about a year from now, there will be a large drill coordinating Crescenta Valley CERT, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff, the Red Cross, Glendale Fire 28, 29, L.A. County Fire 63, and Glendale Police Department in order to help those agencies learn how to work cohesively.
Community members who want more information about upcoming CERT training events can contact Paul Dutton at 249-7917 or Steve Pierce at 248-7859. "It's a way to help yourself, your community, and [a way] to get involved," Dutton said.