Mountain View, CA,

Cuesta Park Neighborhood CERT Info Page

Mountain View, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley, actively supports Neighborhood Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). The Cuesta Park Neighborhood CERT is one of the more experienced groups in Mountain View.

Below are a descripton of the CERT, plus links to various procedures, forms and drills that have been conducted.

If you have questions about this web page, you can contacting Rick Van Mell at

Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association CERT

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Command post
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Search & Rescue Team
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Incidents Map

Primary Contact: Hugo Penafiel

Boundaries: El Camino Real, Grant Road, Cuesta Drive, & Miramonte Avenue.

Background: The Cuesta Park CERT grew out of the Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association to promote activities in and protect Cuesta Park. Dave Offen led the formation of the CERT, initially getting Block Volunteers to survey their blocks to distribute earthquake preparedness information and identify individuals who might need special help after an earthquake. Dave got a grant for the Command Post Trailer and other supplies. Eric Lipanovich, Paul Donahue & Gordon Good brought together the radios and communications procedures. Rick Van Mell wrote the initial Emergency Operating Procedures guide and, with Dave & Eric, started organizing quarterly practice drills.

Organization: The Cuesta Park CERT is primarily organized around Block Volunteers. At mid-2008 there were 65 individuals on the Team List, of which 55 are Block Volunteers, 24 are CERT trained, 19 have been on Teams, and 15 have performed in at least one position at the Command Post.

Block Volunteers are responsible for generally knowing who lives on their assigned block section, and for surveying their block to identify, record and report incidents to a central Command Post (CP) during or after a disaster. Communication from the Block Volunteers to the CP is done with small FRS radios.

The CP is a green trailer located at Bubb School. The CP team collects the information, records it on a map of the neighborhood, and communicates the neighborhood's needs to the Mountain View Emergency Operating Center (EOC). The CP also relays information from the city to the neighborhood through the Block Volunteers. Communication from the CP to the Block Volunteers is done with a more powerful FRS/GMRS radio, and communication with the EOC is done via ham radio.

The Command Post also forms teams from available Block Volunteers and other Team Members to investigate situations reported by Block Volunteers. Teams are generally capable of handling light Search & Rescue, Fire Suppression, and basic Medical triage and treatment.

Joining: The Cuesta Park CERT welcomes new volunteers. The best way to become involved is to go to and click on the button on the top right of the Command Post picture that says, "Join This Group." Then follow the guidelines. Another alternative is to call or email the contact above. New members are given an orientation session with an experienced member, plus an FRS radio, flashlight, safety goggles, gloves and Team List.

Activities: On the first day of each month, promptly at 8:00 pm, The Cuesta Park CERT conducts its monthly Radio Call In. This is an opportunity for all Team Members to practice using their hand-held radios to communicate with the CP. It's also a chance to check that their batteries and other emergency supplies are ready for immediate use. Anyone interested in observing is welcome to stop by the CP at 8 pm on the 1st of any month.

Training and practice drills are generally held once a quarter. Drills are usually scheduled on a weekend day, typically from 10 am to noon, and may be preceded on a weekday evening with a briefing or training session to prepare for the weekend drill. Drills have included finding and reporting "incidents" posted on light poles and fire hydrants, medical triage practice, team training, and how to properly record incidents on Damage Assessment forms and report them by radio. Some drills have included communication with the city's EOC as well.

Training sessions and practice drills are generally open to all interested community members. You may contact either of the email addresses above to inquire about current schedules.

Resources: Cuesta Park CERT is generally well supplied with tools and basic first aid medical supplies which are strategically located in the neighborhood. In addition, Block Volunteers have collected information about the location of additional tools and equipment that may be useful during an emergency.

In the spirit of the national CERT program, the Cuesta Park CERT is happy to share it's policies, procedures, forms and experiences with other CERTs and the general public. Below are links to descriptions and pictures of some recent Cuesta Park CERT activities and resources:

Drills & monthly call-ins:

Quarterly Drill, February 7, 2007: Drill 2-3-07
Radio Call In , April 1, 2007: Drill 4-1-07
Quarterly Drill, May 5, 2007: Drill 5-5-07
Quarterly Drill, March 16, 2008: City-Wide Drill 3-16-08
Radio Operator & Planning documentation process: Radio Operator & Planning Desk Info

Procedures & Forms:

The entire Emergency Operating Procedures (40+ pages), and extracts of individual forms are available on request from the above contacts.

Thank you for your interest in making the CERT process better for everyone in times of emergency.