Big Bear City, CA — The Big Bear Valley’s Community Emergency Response Team meets on Monday evening for a monthly training session, which is also open to all interested community members. The March 22 meeting, to be held at the Big Bear Discovery Center at 6pm, will address damage assessment. CERT members will receive review on how to safely and efficiently assess damage in their neighborhoods following a catastrophic event, such as an earthquake, and how to then report dangerous conditions to first responders.
During this week’s Community Services District meeting, Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis reiterated that the Valley’s CERT team is called upon for assistance with, specifically, damage assessment during times of major disaster. Though CERT members served the community in assisting at the emergency Red Cross shelter in January, the entire force of 400 was not called upon. As Chief Willis explained to interested parties on March 15, “CERT was definitely not forgotten, but considered many times.” There were additional emergency responders on the mountain, provided through mutual aid assistance from CalFire, to help with roof shoveling, fire hydrant clearing and tree removal and, adds Willis with regard to January’s incidents, “Really, snow removal and getting the power back on were the main things. Mobility was probably the biggest single issue, so keeping people off the road was #1.”
So though the CERT team was not asked to leave their neighborhoods to assist in a Valley-wide response back in January, they are a crucial element in Big Bear’s disaster preparedness plan, especially in disaster instances such as wildfire or massive earthquake. To find out more about CERT, and specifically the details of damage assessment during catastrophe, call Connie Baker at 841-3969 or, better yet, attend Monday’s CERT training session which, again, starts at 6pm at the Big Bear Discovery Center.