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Starting in the early hours of the Woolsey Fire, Malibu’s Community Emergency Response Team mobilized to help Malibu residents in a variety of ways.
Almost immediately the Malibu CERT Team was asked to retrieve supplies from the emergency bins located throughout the City and distribute those supplies where they were needed. Working alongside the many other community volunteers who came to aid their neighbors, CERT Team members used the supplies to help set up relief centers and distributed supplies to residents at Point Dume Elementary and Zuma Beach.
Team members also worked at roadblocks handing out masks and informational pamphlets, gathered information for Malibu’s Emergency Operations Center personnel, conducted 45 welfare checks on older residents, provided basic first aid, and more. In total, team members spent over 400 hours serving the community.
Prior to the fire, Malibu CERT Team members spent extensive time training and drilling in preparation for a disaster. Each active member is a registered disaster service worker, and many have advanced emergency medical training. In accordance with the City’s requirements for formal CERT Team membership, active team members have gone far beyond the basic CERT training offered by the City. For active Malibu CERT Team members, CERT is an ongoing, year-round commitment.
In addition those who are on the team, hundreds of Malibu residents have completed the CERT basic training course. One of the primary tenets of the basic CERT training is that emergency services personnel may not be immediately available during and after a disaster. In these situations, community members will need to organize and take action to help themselves and their neighbors. The CERT training class provides instruction in disaster preparedness, the use of a fire extinguisher, disaster medical care and first aid, search and rescue techniques, disaster psychology and neighborhood team building.
Those who are CERT trained, but not members of the official Malibu CERT Team, are not “activated” by the City. They are trained to self-deploy, when safe, and assist their neighbors.
The next CERT class, scheduled to start Jan. 12, is currently full with 50 people signed up. The next class is expected to begin in March 2019. Learn more about the program at www.MalibuCity.org/CERT.
For more information, contact Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas at (310) 456-2489 ext. 313, or email SDuenas@malibucity.org.