Mountain View City-Wide CERT Drill

Cuesta Park's Piece of the Story
March 16, 2008

(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)

Here is a description and some pictures of the Cuest Park Neighborhood Association's CERT activity during the All-Mountain View CERT drill on March 16, 2008.

Pictures from Tom Griffin and Paul Donahue.

Here's how we summed up our Team activities during the drill:

Every time we put teams together we learn new things. We know it takes time; we know it's confusing for Team Members - sometimes both at the Command Post and the field. So we'd like to share what we learned and ask a few questions and solicit your feedback to make us even better the next time.

This time we put together teams from people already at the Command Post. That happened for two reasons. First, we knew that our "victims" would not be ready until about 2:45 - 2:50. Second, we called Block Volunteers to the Command Post as soon as they finished their initial blocks - we didn't ask them to survey more blocks.

Jill's call to the Command Post requesting the first team for The Kids Place got recorded as being received at 2:35, as Incident # 17. At that time we had a backlog of about 4-5 Incident Assessment forms to be recorded on the Master DA form, and had a cascade of about eight Block Volunteers reporting that they were finished with their blocks and returning to the Command Post. Because our Personnel List is not totally up to date with who is not willing to be on a team, the first attempt to assign a team resulted in two people asking not to go - this required extra time to find replacement team members. Still, team Alpha was completed, dispatched and arrived across the field at the Kids Place, per Jill's report, at 2:48. While 13 minutes may not be good by 911 standards, it would be great for us to be able to do that in a real emergency.

Just for background, we logged 34 incidents, of which 16 reported people trapped, 5 of which also reported Heavy structure damage. Since our CERT teams don't go into Heavy damage, that would still be a call for 11 teams! Our internal plan was for up to four teams, but we ran out of team volunteers after Alpha and Bravo.

For perspective, we had 30 people participate in the drill. There were 8 at the Command Post, plus 2 at the incident site. We did field two teams with a total of 9 people assigned; we had about 4-5 people who didn't want to be on teams; and 6-7 who didn't come to the Command Post after finishing their blocks. Thus 30% of all who participated were on teams.

The second call for a team for The Kids Place was recorded at 2:40 as Incident # 25 - note that in the five minutes since the first call, Incident # 17, we had logged 7 more incidents while still pulling team Alpha together.

Having potential Team members at the CP made forming the teams easier than having to radio out to individual members and tell them where to go. However, in a real situation we are more likely to have BVs checking other blocks and will need to assemble at least part of teams by radio. This will mean it will probably take longer, maybe significantly longer to get teams to incidents.

Though we have tried to distribute information about how teams should operate, I think we're all in agreement that training teams would probably be a good future class. It took Jill a good bit of time to remind (or teach) our teams how to size-up a situation, and then conduct the search. That also reduced the time available to observe teams during their search - resulting in fewer times the teams could go through and practice their search, or to give them feedback after they went through.

So here's the rest of the story. At 3:15 the CP logged a call from Team Alpha updating Incident # 17 to People 2-3-0-1, having freed the trapped victim. At 3:20 the CP logged Alpha's request for a next assignment - the reply was to repeat their search a second time. Also at 3:20, we logged a call from Team Bravo that they were beginning their search, and at 3:36 logged a call that Bravo was updating Incident # 25 to People 3-1-0-1, again having freed the trapped victim.

Overall that's darn good! Yes, it took team Alpha 25 minutes to get ready and conduct their search, but they did it safely. Bravo took 16 minutes to do their actual search. The overall system worked - the teams did rescue, did triage victims and did report back to the CP, and it was logged in. Nice job teams! Thanks Jill for on-the-go training. Thanks Page McDonald for the great Scouts!

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Command Table Rick and Eric Eric moves to ...
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Ham radio Paul takes FRS Radio Note wind screen
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Cynthia waits for
incident to post
Pam and Cynthia post Well done!
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Lots of paper ... DA form & Personnel List Taking roll call
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Incidents by Priority In the core Volunteers at CP
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Team Bravo assembles Dee Guertin issues supplies IC Dave Offen
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Jill Bauza mentors at ... The Kids Place ... Team Alpha & injured Scout
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Page comforts
trapped scout
Find & Triage Woe is me!
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Containing the "hysterical"! Rigor Mortis?! Team Bravo sizes-up
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Victim to traige ... Team arrives ... making the call ...
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Delayed (yellow tag) Team Alpha checks out Next victim ...
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breathing? Yet another vicitm. Plese come away.
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Would you please help ... your friend out? Good job!
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An Immeditae (red tag)
gets pressure on wound.
BVs take a time out Final Map Shot