What is CERT?

Community Emergency Response Teams are groups of citizen emergency workers. CERT personnel receive basic training from emergency response professionals and work in the initial aftermath of a disaster to augment official emergency services. CERT members are not intended to replace a community’s professional response capability, but rather to serve as an important supplement to it. The CERT Teams in the Floating Homes community respond to sinking homes, medical emergencies, high wind damage, piling failures and lines breaking. Frequently they are much more effective than professional responders due to their knowledge of the unique characteristics of living on the water. There are approximately 80 CERT trained volunteers in the floating home community.

What do CERT members do?

CERT members respond to an event that overwhelms existing resources to deal with the event. Disasters may be natural events such as earthquakes, fires, floods, or may be caused by human actions such as a terrorist act, civil disturbances, or hazardous materials incidents.

Community Emergency Response Teams are trained in basic emergency response procedures such as:

Conducting an initial size-up of the situation in their immediate area
Reducing immediate dangers by turning off utilities, suppressing small fires, and evacuating hazardous areas
Performing immediate medical triage and basic treatment of injuries
Assessing structural integrity and performing light search and rescue
Collecting and recording vital information to be relayed to professional responders on damage, victims, and actions taken or resources needed
Providing leadership to untrained volunteers. In a large scale disaster, self-reliance and the use of volunteers will be necessary. With this in mind, the Fire Departments and Districts in Southern Marin have joined together to teach the CERT program. Many class formats and locations throughout Marin are now available for this 15 hour series. Please refer to the county website at www.marincountycert.org for course scheduling, registration, questions and contact information.

All trainees receive a CERT manual. Upon completion, each trainee will receive a disaster service worker ID card, helmet, vest, eye protection, and certificate of completion.

Cost: $45.00 per person – Online registration is available at http://www.marincountycert.org/cert-training-schedule

Members of the Floating Homes Association will have their class fee reimbursed upon successfully graduating from the class and presenting receipt/certification to the FHA.

Training and coordination meetings are ongoing for CERT (Community Emergency Response Training). These include exercises and fire drills.

For more information on CERT, call Flo Hoylman at (415) 332-1043.

At various trainings, residents have learned (and sometimes re-learned) how to pull out the hoses and turn on the nozzles. Representatives from the Marin City Fire Department have covered care and use of fire extinguishers/smoke detectors, how to shut off gas and electricity, and have discussed emergency contacts and answered questions.

Watch this space for more information and reports on community fire drills.

The Floating Homes Association now owns two high volume pumps to be used in the event of a sinking emergency. The pumps are stored on site and available by contacting a Board Officer; their contact info is listed at http://floatinghomes.org/fha-board/board-members/.

Emergency preparedness activities by the FHA and residents may help prevent many of the disasters that have, from time to time, been visited upon the entire California coast.

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