Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

September 12, 2006 > Fremont's annual CERT drill expands in scope

Fremont's annual CERT drill expands in scope

by Praveena Raman

Fremont will be holding its annual Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) drill and family picnic on Saturday, September 16 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Lake Elizabeth (Central Park) near the Teen Center. The CERT Leadership team and the Fremont Fire Department, which sponsors this program and event, have for the first time in recent years invited CERT members from Newark and Union City to join in this drill, making it a true Tri-City event. Paramedic Sergio Murariu and Division Chief Vic Valdes have been the staunch supporters and promoters of reaching out beyond the borders of Fremont and increasing the co-operation between CERT members in the Tri-City area and with other Disaster Preparedness organizations.

Mary Biggs, organizer of the very first CERT drill in Fremont in 1996 and leader of this year's drill, says "I am thrilled to be part of a disaster preparedness exercise that takes into account the importance of thinking beyond our Fremont borders.  This event is a great opportunity for Fremont to interact and practice with surrounding cities and other agencies." The event will also include the American Red Cross, Tri-City Amateur Radio Operators, and vendors specializing in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness products & services.

The CERT program, based on a curriculum set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was first started in Fremont in 1995 to prepare the community for disasters and to have a team of trained volunteers to help the Fire Department in the event of a widespread disaster.  These trained volunteers are further supported by the Fire Department and the volunteer leadership team by having two drills every year, one in the Fall and the other in the Spring.  The goal of these drills is to provide "hands-on" practice for CERT members so they can remain focused and experienced in their ability to assist their families, neighbors and local fire department in a real disaster or emergency.  

During the drill on Saturday, CERT members will be responding to a staged disaster incident as cohesive teams and utilize all the skills that they had learned during their CERT training e.g. incident command system (setting up an effective team); assessing exterior and interior building damage; utility shut-off and control; fire suppression; interior search & rescue; rapid assessment, triage, and movement of injured victims; setting up a secure triage area; setting up of emergency communications and reporting incident status to emergency operations center (EOC). Emergency communications using Ham (amateur radio) radio operators are also tested and practiced.   In addition to practicing team operations, CERT members will each have an opportunity to practice their fire-fighting skills, cribbing (lifting heavy objects), and hands-on CPR skills.

The CERT Amateur Radio Operators (ham operators) will be running simple voice traffic passing exercises using pre-set messages and Fremont CERT radio message forms.  The team will also be running a Packet Radio display where messages are relayed from computer to computer over the airwaves using ham radios.  All CERT members are welcome to try out the ham communication whether they are licensed or not during the drill.  However, to continue using ham radios for communication, interested CERT members should pursue getting their ham radio license, which is granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after passing a licensing examination.

More than 200 Tri-City CERT members and families are expected to participate in the drill this year.  Of these 200, at least 8 to 10 CERT members and their families will be from Union City.  Union City CERT District Coordinator Cathi Sweeney pointed out that some of the family members who will be attending the drill are enrolled in the upcoming Union City CERT class that begins on September 23 and are coming to see what their training will encompass.

Cathi is also pleased that Union City and Newark CERT members have been invited to participate and says it is "wonderful to see increased cooperation between the CERT programs in the Tri-City area."  The drill participants and their families will also be able to shop for emergency preparedness supplies from the different vendors who will be present. One of the vendors, Arrow Fire Protection, will be collecting old fire extinguishers for proper disposal and selling new ones.  CERT members and their guests will be treated to a complimentary lunch and refreshments sponsored by the Fremont Fire Department and Outback Steakhouse.

If you are interested in the CERT drill, the training programs and/or in getting a ham radio license please read the information given below:

CERT DRILL: For information call (510) 494-4244 or email

Saturday September 16, 9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. near Fremont Teen Center Building, 39770 Paseo Padre Parkway and Sailway Drive (Near the Lake Elizabeth Boathouse).  The drill and picnic are open only to CERT members and their families.  Those interested in learning about the CERT program, the skills learned, emergency communications and more are invited to watch and gather information but cannot participate in the event.

Special Displays:
American Red Cross Emergency Response Van (called the "ERV"),
Brian Regan, Red Cross Health & Safety
Fremont Fire Department Ladder Truck and Engine
"Hayward Fault Exposed" Dig Site   This CERT event is immediately next to this display.

Vendors specializing in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness products & services:
American Red Cross
Arrow Fire Protection, selling fire extinguishers and collecting old expired extinguishers for proper disposal
Environmental Safety Services
Life Support Services
PowerFlare Corporation
The Safety Place
SOS Survival Products (brochures only)

Upcoming CERT Classes:

Fremont: The next CERT training starts on Wednesday October 11, 2006 from 7-10 p.m. and will be held on six consecutive Wednesdays through November 15 2006.  The classes will be held at 3300 Capital Avenue, Fremont City Hall at the  CERT center.  For more information call (510) 494-4244, email or visit

Newark: The next CERT training session starts on Thursday October 5, 2006 from 6-9:30 p.m. and will be held on six consecutive Thursdays through November 9, 2006.  The classes will be held at the Silliman Activity Center - 6800 Mowry Ave.  Class 6 which is a hands-on disaster exercise will be held at Fire Station 3 - 39039 Cherry St.  For information about the program or to see a detailed class schedule visit .  For enrollment information or questions messages can be also left at the CERT hotline at 793-1400, ext. 530 or emailed to

Union City: The next CERT training session starts on Saturday September 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be held on 5 consecutive Saturdays.  For location, schedule, enrollment and all CERT relation information call 510-487-4147 or email

Upcoming ham Cram Class for obtaining ham license:
ARES is sponsoring a ham Self Guided Study (ham cram) on Sunday October 22 from 8AM to 5PM at Washington Hospital West, Fremont.  The Fee for the course and exam is $30.  Study materials will cover Technician and General Classes and testing will cover all Elements EXCEPT Morse code.  Registration is required and can be done at  For questions please contact Ross Peterson at 650-349-5349 or send an email to  All new and returning hams in the Tri-City area can find support from experienced hams in the Fremont Ares organization.  For more information go to

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