The Great Shakeout Drill for Lamorinda CERT

Posted: 13-Nov-2012

By Carol Yates, Public Information Officer for the CERT Drill

The Great Shakeout in Lamorinda concluded on Saturday, October 20, 2012 with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Drill at Donald Rheem Elementary School in Moraga.  CERT members are volunteers from the community who have completed special training that prepares them to be of immediate help in the event of a major disaster.  The Drill was designed to provide experience in the critical areas in which volunteers have been trained such as triage, emergency medical, light search and rescue to be used in the event that a disaster overwhelms our professional emergency services. 

Nearly 100 participants gathered for the CERT exercise.  The earthquake scenario gave an opportunity for CERT members to be joined by local and regional resources to conduct operations that would integrate volunteers with law, fire, and federal operations. Moraga Police Chief Robert Priebe, Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen, and Moraga-Orinda Fire District Chief Randall Bradley were present with their support of the operation.

CERT was joined by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Contra Costa County Medical Reserve Corps.

Training Stations at the school site included a Medical Station where a Triage Team identifies victims who need immediate, delayed, or minor care. Red, yellow, and green tarps and wrist bands augment the triage process thereby offer the best medical opportunity.  A Logistics Station provides medical supplies. Victims in need of treatment beyond the scope of CERT are referred to the nearby Medical Reserve Corps Station.

The Incident Command Station responds to victims by locating CERT volunteers to assist.  For example, in today’s exercise, a “teacher/victim” was looking for lost students, a father was searching for his son, and an injured student was accompanied to the medical treatment area.

CERT members also learn to evaluate the safety of a damaged building before entering for a Search and Rescue.  After a call to possible victims trapped inside, volunteers practice working as a team to secure their own safety while responding to the needs of trapped victims.

In the school gymnasium, the American Red Cross volunteers trained CERT members in the setting up and management of a shelter. Registration, food service, health service, logistics and more are part of the well-organized aid for residents who need shelter following a major disaster.  Cots and blankets are provided and a strict set of rules must be followed to ensure a healthy environment during the stay.
The Salvation Army sent the special division of Emergency Disaster Service made up of volunteers, most of whom are ham radio operators.  For the drill, they provided participants with a welcome food table. 

The result of the Lamorinda Great Shakeout Drill for CERT is that the participants have been able to put into practice that which they have learned in the training classes and are better prepared to volunteer to help themselves, their families, and their neighbors in the event of a disaster that overwhelms our resources that we count on.  CERT members have volunteered because of their belief that neighbors helping neighbors is what will save lives and property when the expected or unexpected happens.

Interested in knowing more about CERT training?  Go to