Posted by: Mary Jo Flynn, Assistant Director of Emergency Management, Anaheim CERT
The Anaheim Citizen Corps Program was honored to have FEMA Flat Stanley and Stella join us for a day of training in Anaheim, California. They were really excited to participate with our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and meet some of our residents and businesses in the area who wanted to be better prepared for disasters. They learned that the City of Los Angeles, Anaheim’s neighbor 30 miles to the north, started the CERT program after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake as a way for neighbors to help one another after emergencies. Anaheim has had a CERT program since 1992 and they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this November. FEMA Flat Stanley and Stella are certainly on the guest list!
Flat Stanley and Stella joined me in welcoming CERT students and encouraged them to become volunteers with the city once their training was complete.
As the CERT class was getting ready to practice some of their skills, Fire Department volunteers spent some time with Flat Stanley and Stella reviewing fire safety, how to use a fire extinguisher and the importance of having a buddy with you.
Flat Stanley and Stella also took a close look at an A-B-C fire extinguisher, which is one of the most common types of fire extinguishers to use for smaller fires.
In addition to the CERT volunteers, Anaheim also has volunteers who specialize in radio communications who are members of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) and were showing off their communications trailer and radio equipment to Flat Stanley and Stella.
Finally, they were invited by CERT and RACES volunteer, Norman Todd, to get on the radio and practice sending messages. They learned that Norman and the RACES volunteers in Anaheim are part of a world-wide network of volunteers who have agreed to help first responders by relaying messages when other systems like telephone lines may not be working.
Before leaving to head back to Washington, D.C. we all stopped by the Anaheim Emergency Operations Center where they met RACES volunteer Jonathan Ramos who gave them a tour of the facility. They saw firsthand the value and importance each volunteer makes as part of Emergency Operations during disasters and how they are part of a much larger network of first responders from the local, regional, state and federal level.
We look forward to future visits from FEMA Flat Stanley and Stella and we hope they are able to share with other communities the tremendous impact and difference volunteers make within a community.