March 12, Statewide Tornado Drill and CERT Classes Begin

Four things happen on Tue March 12:
9:45AM - Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill. Flyer from Charlottesville CERT.
Virginia EMS
6:30PM - spring CERT basic training class starts
7:00PM - AARC board meeting
7:30PM - AARC monthly meeting

At 9:45AM, the Emergency Alert System will be activated. Your weather radio (if you have S.A.M.E. or basic weather alert capability), cell phone (if it is a new phone with CMAS/WEA and your carrier supports it), TV or FM radio broadcasts, or your building PA system, may sound the emergency alert tone. Wherever you are, pretend it is a real tornado alert and act accordingly. There will probably be a brief activation of the Northern Piedmont Emergency Net. If you can't participate at 9:45AM, for some reason, do so at some other time.

CERT training is a 9 week class.
Disaster Preparedness
Fire Suppression
Search & Rescue
Disaster Medical Operations
Part 1 Disaster Medical Operations
Part 2 Disaster Psychology & Team Organization
Terrorism
Practical Exercise
National Incident Management System

Basic training is a prerequisite for advanced classes for traffic team (directs vehicle traffic), info line (answers the 979-INFO line during emergencies to take the load off 911), Search and Rescue, and Chainsaw team (which also requires you already have some chainsaw training). Basic training doesn't include training on the P25 radios (which use the Charlottesville/Albemarle/UVA police/fire/rescue dispatch towers but have their own CERT virtual channels) , but traffic team training does. Find on the CharlottesvilleCERT website under calendar and basic training (gives old date).

While hams particpating in CERT training and CERT volunteers participating in ham training doesn't increase the number of emergency responders, like drawing from the general public would, it does improve the versatility/training of each responder and interaction between groups. Unfortunately, since it is a 9 week classes being held on tuesdays, the class will overlap with 3 AARC monthly meetings. When I took the class, a camera was used and DVDs made to allow makeup for classes missed; you can also catch the first half of a CERT class and still make the demo portion of the AARC meeting.

While updating your calender: CERT will also be directing traffic and providing security at Foxfield on April 27. And there is a regional (southeast US) earthquake drill on Oct 17.

With a possible heavy snow storm in two days, a tornado drill, and CERT training upcoming, now might be a good time to check your batteries, solar panels, generators, and charger cables, not to mention your other emergency supplies.