New Training Events Added

Look on the Activities/Classes link to find new information added for:

  • Millbrae Triage Refresher- July 27
  • Foster City CERT Skills Day Assistance Invitation- July 30
  • Redwood City Active Threat Training- Aug 4
  • SMCo Office of Education Staff Training- Aug 5

goTenna- VHF For Your Smartphone

goTenna is a relatively new company with an intriguing new communications product.  In their own words “goTenna turns your iPhone or Android into an off-grid communications tool, enabling you to text & share GPS locations on detailed offline maps. goTenna is lightweight, weather-proof, and easy to use. goTenna is sold in pairs — 2, 4, 6 or more— so you can stay connected to at least one friend (and anyone else using goTenna).”

Using an app on your smartphone, plus a goTenna unit, you are able to transmit texts and location information when you have ZERO network coverage!  The goTenna essentially turns your smartphone (or any other Bluetooth device able to run their app, like an iPod or tablet or even old deactivated smartphones.) into a 2-watt VHF radio broadcasting encrypted messages over 151-154 MHz (same as MURS radio) to other goTenna units within range.

The messaging and location-sharing app works with high-resolution downloadable maps for referencing transmitted location data.  The goTenna cost is $199 for two devices, since it takes two devices to form a peer-to-peer network.  This communication network can operate without connecting to a central server and can be expanded as more GoTennas are added.  Ranges to vary with terrain, 4-5 miles in open terrain to a mile or less in urban environments.gotenna.jpg

I have been very curious about how these could be used and have been in contact with the company, who finally provided me a pair to review on this blog.  Be sure to check back as I see just how these work in local areas.

Make a AA Battery Act Like a D Cell

Regular readers here know how much of a fan I am of Eneloop rechargeable batteries.  They are reliable, charge quickly and hold their charge for a long time.  Over the years, I have accumulated quite a few AA and AAA-size Eneloops, enough to use in almost all our household and emergency devices.   However, I’m sure there are other folks out there who have a favorite old D-cell Maglite flashlight that they still love to use.

I had previously converted our Maglites with LED bulb conversion kits but had not done anything about their batteries until now.  Eneloop makes these D-cell adapters which allow you to use their AA size batteries in D-cell devices.  Now I don’t have to worry about buying D-cell disposable batteries and can easily rotate these AA cells among my stock of AA Eneloops.  It also makes my 3-D cell Maglite a little lighter, and much more impervious to damage from leaking alkaline batteries.  Also note that these adapter can work with ANY size AA battery, which is the most common battery size in the world.

Disaster Preparedness Advertising

On a recent trip to Orlando I saw this mall ad for preparedness.  For those who may not be familiar, the character this is “Big Hero 6” from the recent Disney movie of the same name.IMG_6172.jpg

CERT Bandana

Yet another item for my collection of CERT stuff.  The good folks of the Rowlett Citizen Corps Council, a CERT group in East Texas, sell this bandana which doubles as a CERT cheat sheet.  I got mine on Amazon for $7.95.  Here is a link to my previous post on the usefulness of a bandana.IMG_6270.jpg

Upcoming CERT Training Classes

CERT Basic Classes coming for San Mateo and Foster City – San Mateo is having a class that starts on 8/31 (no flyer yet), and FC is having a class that starts 9/7 (flyer) – Notify Capt. Halleran ( if you know someone who’s interested in CERT!

Firefighter Chili Cookoff

Come out and support your local firefighters!
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Annual CERT Summer BBQ

It’s almost that time of year again, and the Redwood City/San Carlos CERT team has extended an invitation to Belmont CERT.  Always fun and hope to see some other Belmont faces there!
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2016 National Night Out in Belmont

National Night Out is always held the first Tuesday of August, this year being August 2nd.  The City of Belmont is very active in this annual event which is a way for neighbors to meet neighbors and to provide some home safety information to keep your neighborhood safe.  There were 12 event locations last year and the city is hoping to see more locations this year.  Folks could host a block party or just put up a table in your driveway and serve some ice cream.  City employees (Police/Fire/Public Works) will make an appearance too.

As always, Belmont CERT will be participating in the main event at Carlmont Shopping Center.

Anyone interested in hosting an event can contact Terri Cook, Belmont City Clerk 650-595-7414 (

The Loneliest AED?

I recently went on a helicopter tour to the Western rim of the Grand Canyon which included a scenic stop.  The location of the landing zone was on a rocky bluff overlooking the Colorado River.  And on this remote location, was this box on a post containing an AED unit.  I was really surprised to see it, figuring they would have one onboard the helicopter.
2016 Las Vegas trip,