Latest Blog Updates

I was contacted by Karen Keefer regarding incorporating some of the online material gathered for the Redwood City CERT into this blog.  I gave it a shot and here are the changes to look for, if you haven’t already noticed some of them:

  • Online CERT training resources have been added to the Activities page
  • Redwood City CodeRED information had a bad link that is now fixed
  • Added a post reporting on the Redwood City GIS map
  • A new page for CERT Radio Communications has been added
  • some Redwood City CERT photos dating from 2009 have been added to the CERT Photo Album
  • A new page dedicated to Redwood City team information has been added
  • I also “retired” the Community Bulletin Board page since it hardly ever got used.

Redwood City GIS Map

Here is something interesting, it is an interactive map produced for Redwood City showing our area of CERT focus.  Using the zoom control, one can get all the way down to an individual home lot and see the info associated with that parcel. There are other features such as overlays of  locations of hospitals and fire stations, for instance (but only for the units associated with Redwood City).  you can also see the different CERT Districts for Redwood City.
The GIS (geographic information system) map can be found here.

Redwood City Community Improvement Grant Program

Did you know that Redwood City offers grants when you invite the Fire Department to provide an emergency preparedness overview at your block party or other neighborhood event?

Find out more about Redwood City’s Community Improvement Grant Program here.

SMC Alert Survey

Do you currently receive SMC Alerts? Or maybe you’ve never even heard of the service.
As part of its efforts in disaster preparedness, the County of San Mateo is currently evaluating its SMC Alert notification system for possible changes to improve current users’ experience and encourage new sign ups.

The free SMC Alert system sends a text or email to subscribers during urgent or emergency situations providing information and updates. Users can choose what notifications they wish to receive and on what device.

Please tell us about your experience in the survey here.  Your feedback is very important to us as we work to improve upon this system to alert you and your family in the event of natural or man-made disasters.

Solar Lantern Review- The Luci® Lantern

Another useful item for yourself or as a great gift idea, this is the Luci® Lantern.  This is an inexpensive, solar powered, inflatable lantern that puts out a lot of light. The internal battery charges in sunlight or indoor light (at a slower rate), and when you need it, just turn it on and you have light.  The light from the ten LED’s at one end perform differently depending on which end you set Luci on.  The photos show the effect in a dark room, with the LED’s shining down you have a good work light for reading while pointing the light upwards does well to illuminate more of the room.  Handles on both ends make it very to carry or hang.  There are several models to choose from, I went with the Luci® Original.
IMG_0892IMG_0894 IMG_0896 IMG_0898
Some information from the manufacturer:
>In direct sunlight, Luci® will fully charge in 8 hours.
>With two light levels available, with Luci® is set on Bright (lowest light setting) she provides light for up to 12 hours after a full charge.
>When not in use, Luci® holds a full charge for about three months. After that, she retains up to 50% of her charge for two years
>Luci® can withstand extreme temperatures, wind, and rain AND floats.

Luci® is available online direct from the manufacturer website for $14.99 or buy local and support small businesses.  I bought mine at Going In Style ($17.95) at Stanford Shopping Center.

Are You Bilingual..? Let CERT Know

Are you Bilingual..?  Help your team prepare today !

Your assistance is appreciated in helping our community to prepare for a disaster. We are fortunate to have such a large diverse and talented team of CERT members. Each member brings so much to our team, it is with all of you, we are able to provide and give back to our community, teaching, training and educating so many others on how to prepare.

As we each prepare in advance to build our kits, have our plan and train as a team, our program continues to grow and prepare. Another addition to our team capabilities would be to gather knowledge in advance of those members who are bilingual.

Please inform your CERT coordinator of your second language, and let them know if you are willing to assist with translation at a time of need.
Redwood City/San Carlos CERT members can click here:
Belmont CERT members can click here:

As a reminder for the new readers of this blog, search using “language” to see my other posts about foreign language preparedness materials available online.

Redwood City/San Carlos Skills Day Training

Thanks to Terese Ruth for providing photos from the Skills Day training for the recent class of new CERT members.  Thanks to the members that helped with the skills stations, passing along your knowledge. Check out all the photos on our CERT Photo Album link.

Oracle Disaster Drill Still Needs Victims

Capt Halleran has advised us that Oracle is still in desperate need of volunteers for tomorrow’s drill.  If you can help, please contact Michele Richards at First-In Emergency Response Training ( to sign up to participate.  Check the Belmont CERT Activities page for more information.

Redwood City/San Carlos CERT Meeting Tonight

The second Monday of the month is tonight, please join us for a hands-on Incident Command Post Training.

How to Set Up an ICP (Incident Command Post)
Monday, April 13, 2015
6:30pm to 8:00pm
1455 Madison Ave., Redwood City
Veterans Memorial Bldg.

My 2014 Urban Shield Experience

Sorry for the delay, it just dawned on me that I never got around to writing about all the things I learned volunteering at last year’s exercise and meant to pass to ot2014 Urban Shieldher CERT’s.  All of my experience last year was with the urban search & rescue (USAR) exercise area located at NASA Ames Research Center, primarily performing medical triage. Be sure to see all the photos on the CERT Photo Album. Here are my nuggets of information:

Write patient stats on tape– for ease of informational continuity, attach a foot long piece of white duct tape (that’s the color I carry in my bag) to the victims upper leg.  This become a notepad for patient info: HAM (history/allergies/medication), blood pressure, pulse and other notations.
Nitrile gloves– be sure to pack nitrile gloves in your backpack, they keep body fluids off your skin and can also act as liners for leather work gloves.  I now keep ziplock bags of nitrile gloves in my pack.
Knee pads if you don’t have them already– I have kneepads in my packs and was VERY glad to have them since the triage tarps were laid out on uneven terrain and you can’t kneel on that type of surface very long without them.
Mannequin weights vary!– Multiple times during the day I was assisting in the lifting of live people and mannequins.  I found out that there are lightweight mannequins (~50lbs) and full weight (~160 lbs?). Don’t risk injury thinking you’re reaching down for a light one.
Webcams at the stations– it was very interesting to see that webcams were setup at each of the skills exercises for remote monitoring.  A portable wi-fi zone was set up for them to connect to.
Different units carry different gear– Eleven different fire departments rolled through for a long day of skills testing, and you should not expect everyone of them to have the same equipment on board their vehicles.
Some have more EMTs than others– like the differing equipment available, so were the availability of EMT’s.  Some departments had enough on hand to keep one at the triage area to oversee the CERT’s.  Others with fewer EMT’s kept them employed in the actual extraction/stabilization of the victims which meant us CERT’s were on our own!
Helmet light- Urban Shield is a hardhat exercise and if you haven’t installed a light on yours, now is the time. The USAR exercise ran from sunrise to well past sundown and the helmet lights were absolutely needed.  Sure, you can use a flashlight but most of them are not hands-free.
Pulse taking– Be prepared to do a lot of pulse taking on the victims.  It took a few victims for me to consistently find the right spot to put my fingers on.  Along with the pulse detection, it also helps to have a watch with a second hand to time the count.
Heart rate app– It wasn’t until the exercise concluded that I realized I could’ve used my iPhone to measure the victim’s pulse!  There are many pulse-taking apps (I use Heart Rate) and they work well.
Non participant CERT’s– During Urban Shield, the triage teams were assembled from the available CERT’s and I was lucky to work with some really well-trained folks from Pleasanton, South SF and Menlo Park.  However, there were also some folks wearing CERT vests who just wanted to do sightseeing and not do anything which was rather irritating.