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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Friday, August 24, 2012

Local Preparedness Effort Wins State Award

The State of California has awarded the Santa Barbara County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Committee its California Service Group of the Year Award.


Accepting the award on behalf of the Committee was Jim Caesar, Emergency Manager at UCSB and the Committee’s current chairperson. According to the Governor’s Office of Volunteers, the Santa Barbara County CERT Committee has brought together CERTs from throughout the Operational Area to share best practices and instill in every resident a culture of preparedness. In the last three years, the CERT Committee has developed relationships with city and county governmental agencies, nonprofits, residents, and representatives of businesses and philanthropic organizations.

The members of the CERT Committee care deeply about each and every resident of the county who, due to lack of training, could lose his or her life. In addition to traditional CERT programs, the Committee organized robust outreach to teens and Latinos, two groups underrepresented in CERT. Approximately 3,000 county residents have received preparedness training through the CERT Committee’s activities.The CERT Committee was re-energized through the efforts of its members from all of the county’s cities, fire agencies, the Office of Emergency Management, UCSB and with supporting funding from the Aware & Prepare Initiative.

This award is the second statewide award presented to a project associated with the Aware & Prepare Initiative. In 2010 the Initiative was awarded the Platinum Award by the California State Emergency Services Association for innovations and achievements in emergency management. Recently, the Aware and Prepare Initiative granted another $10,000 to continue CERT activities through equipment and supply replacement. According to Michael Harris, Emergency Operations Chief for the County, “Our residents want to see impact from all levels of government working with non-profits, volunteers and the philanthropic community. The CERT Committee represents the best of people who care about disaster preparedness working together to achieve great things.”

Jim Caesar, Emergency Manager from UCSB and the CERT Committee Chair stated, “This is a great experience. The cities, the County, UCSB and all first responders are working together toward one common purpose: to better prepare our residents for major emergencies and disasters. There are no boundaries; there are just people who want to make our communities safer.”

To learn more about CERT click here.Check with your local fire department to learn about CERT training in your area.

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