Thirteen people will graduate this week from Basic CERT Training in Caldwell County. They did a great job yesterday evening on their search and rescue module that includes cribbing and rescuing 2 victims. They admirably filled the roles of incident commander, record-keeper, safety officer, medical officer, lever operators, and cribbers. Tonight they will learn to use fire extinguishers and utility controls.
This weekend (January 27-28, 2018) Dick Blumenstein and Roberta Maddox will be hosting the Lenoir Amateur Radio Club’s 2018 Winter Field Day at 4924 Rio De Luna. This event is a worldwide activity where amateur radio operators setup and operate in whatever “winter weather conditions” are happening during that 24-hours to demonstrate their capability to support disaster and emergency situations. Dick and Roberta are CERT-trained volunteers, and Dick is Vice President of Caldwell County REACT.
Starting at 9 AM Saturday, they will set-up Lenoir Amateur Radio Club Communications and Antenna trailers and radio equipment and at 2 PM operations start. They will power down at 9 PM and startup again on Sunday morning at 9 AM until 2 PM.
They will operate “off the grid” on alternate power (generator and/or solar) as they would in a situation where commercial power is down. Radio operations involve testing our equipment capabilities by contacting as many US states, Canadian provinces, and amateur radio stations located in countries worldwide as possible.
The “radio team” that will be operating during this Winter Field Day event provides ongoing support to the Caldwell County Emergency Operations Center and were activated this past year to support Caldwell’s communications and weather operations for Hurricane Irma, and the 2 tornadoes that hit Caldwell County. The emergency communications assistance that our amateur radio volunteers provide is crucial to our emergency preparedness.
You are invited to drop by the cul-de-sac and talk a little “radio”. Come check us out!
Directions to 4924 Rio De Luna, Hickory FROM Hwy 321:
-Take Hwy 321 South to Grace Chapel Rd (from Lenoir)
-Turn Left on Grace Chapel Rd
-Turn Right on Rocky Mount Rd (at Church with digital sign, not at service station)
-Immediate Left turn on Petra Mill Rd
-Turn Right at Icard Dam Rd
-Turn Right on Crystal Falls Ave (immediately before bridge)
-Turn Right on Rio De Luna and continue to end of road
-4924 Rio De Luna is on left (lakeside) on cul-de-sac
*****YOU WON’T MISS THE LARC TRAILERS*****
Ro K4HRM & Dick K0CAT
October 23, 2017, southern Caldwell County was hit with tornadoes/bad wind storm damage the second time in less than two weeks uprooting trees, closing roads, and damaging and destroying homes. At 6:20 pm the CERT-trained volunteers of Caldwell County REACT was called into service by Kenneth Teague, Emergency Management Coordinator. Ten team members responded.
Two assisted by taking tarps and other emergency supplies to Grace Chapel Fire and Rescue which was in the middle of the destruction. Rosemary and Michaela Hall had to avoid several road hazards and take back road detours to get to the station.
Eight REACT members were deployed to South Caldwell High School to assist the Red Cross with unloading and setting up cots in the gymnasium which was being opened as an emergency shelter. Curt Hiller, Hunter Mise, Gary Dishman, Sabrina Laws, and Steve and Sherri Bogdan were among the REACT volunteers. Another REACT member, Dick Blumenstein, spent the evening assisting in his neighborhood clearing roads and driveways of fallen limbs and trees.
The REACT team reported back to the Emergency Operations Center for assignments and instructions for the next morning. Members will be assisting in the EOC and will accompany three damage assessment teams in Caldwell County areas damaged in the storm.
Monday, October 16, 2017, will be the last meeting of the CERT Basic Class in Caldwell County. We have 8 attendees including all ages and physical abilities. They have been a motivated class with a variety of qualifications and experiences.
Here are pictures of the class during different activities. Our instructors look forward to their attendance at future, advanced classes. Our instructors for this class are Rosemary Hall, Shirley Kanode, Kenny Hall, and Mark Barrera. REACT members Curt and Maria Hiller attended and assisted at some of the classes.
Congratulations to our new CERT members Nancy Green, Hunter Mise, Helen Pylant, Linda Watson, and Dale Woodruff. Three people have already taken CERT Basic Training but are making up missed classes or returning for a refresher–Barbara Busch, Sherri Bogdan, and Steve Bogdan.
A group of CERT volunteers who are members of Caldwell County REACT, spent Saturday morning, October 7, 2017 managing traffic during the Used Tires Collection event.
Earlier this year our members were trained on the deployment of the county’s new M.E.R.T. (Multiple Event Response Trailer) to manage traffic and pedestrian traffic during events or disasters. The trailer is stocked with various traffic control equipment including cones, dragons teeth that can be filled with water, barricades, and directional signs.
We put this training into practice Saturday morning when we assisted the Lenoir Rotary Club with the collection of used tires from the community. Our REACT members arrived before 7 am when it was still dark to set up the traffic flow and two drop-off lanes for vehicles. Throughout the morning we managed traffic and kept the lanes running smoothly. A semi-trailer of used tires was collected in four hours. People brought from one tire in their trunk to 50 tires on a trailer. There were many pick-ups with their beds loaded. As one resident stated, getting rid of the pick-up load of tires out of his yard would reduce the mosquito population significantly. It also reduces illegal dumping.
Our team members enjoyed working with Lenoir Rotary who worked very hard to fill the semi-trailer. Another trailer was in reserve, if needed. Using the M.E.R.T. equipment and directing traffic was good experience and training. For example, it became obvious why the CERT POD (Points of Distribution) training directs you to have vehicles make a turn into the entrance lane to slow them down. We had a few cars squeal through the turn and may have been a hazard to the workers unloading tires if not forced to slow down. We also learned that many drivers do not follow directions and must be monitored very closely to avoid being hit. One man started in one lane after difficulty, then halfway down the lane decided to drive through the cones and swerve around the semi to the other lane for no apparent reason.
We had only one disappointed customer. The driver of a pickup loaded with a used mattress, old wheelchair, and other debris, but no tires, was told, no, we could not unload and recycle his material.
Caldwell County REACT, a group of CERT-trained volunteers, conducted a class on Saturday, September 9, 2017, for the public and its members on what to include in an emergency kit in your home, car, and as a go bag. Mark Barrera organized the event as a recognition of September as national preparedness month. It happened to coincide with Hurricane Irma impacting our county on Monday and Tuesday.
Mark described the items to include in a basic emergency kit and how to build on it displaying a variety of kits he uses. Other REACT team members, Shirley Kanode, Irv, and Rosemary Hall, displayed their various emergency kits. They demonstrated CERT bags, home shelter-in-place supplies, vehicle kit, search and rescue bag, a kit for volunteer deployment during a disaster, and a communications kit for amateur radio operators.
Participants were encouraged to register for the Caldwell County Code Red notification system.
For those not yet CERT-trained, they were invited to attend our next schedule CERT Basic Course in Lenoir.
Topics covered will include disaster preparedness, CERT incident command structure, emergency first aid and triage, minor fire suppression and utility controls, search and rescue including cribbing, disaster psychology, and terrorism and CERT. Participants will receive a comprehensive manual. The training includes classroom instruction, case studies and exercises, and hands-on practice. Additional follow-up training on various other topics is available monthly.
CERT Basic Training Course will be held in Lenoir, NC on the following dates. You must attend each day. We welcome individuals of all abilities.
October 9, 10, 12, 16, 6:00-9:00 pm
October 14, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
LOCATION: 3rd floor training room, Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building, 2345 Morganton Blvd SW, Lenoir, NC. There is no charge for this training.
TO REGISTER: Send an email with your name, email address, phone number, and address to caldwellcountyCERT@gmail.com. You may also register on the NC state training website, TERMS.