Were you rattled by the Rigdgcrest quakes? Powerful reminders we have more work to do to prepare for something like that in our neighborhood. In most types of disasters, cell service will likely be overloaded even if still standing and we will have to rely on alternate communications in any disaster, whether power outage, earthquake, wildfire other type of event that overwhelms the first responders (911). The drills on October 5 that will focus on radio communications.
A massive windstorm has struck the LA Basin causing worse power and phone outages than the one we experienced in 2011. LAFD is immediately overwhelmed by the number of incidents and goes into a degraded mode addressing top priority emergencies first. Realizing that power, landline, and cell phone outages means that people cannot call 9-1-1, CERT trained members turn on their radios and begin checking in. As the wind dies down, organized Map Your Neighborhood blocks begin assessments of their respective blocks. Over the radio, it is the consensus that CERT Staging Areas need to be setup and damage assessments of each neighborhood need to be conducted while CERT Group Leaders attempt to establish contact with LAFD to tie in the “boots on the ground” with the professional responders that no one can reach.
Our MWJN MYN (Map Your Neighborhood – the block by block, “first hour” response plan) will be practiced in each of our 19 organized blocks. The Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) Drill will be in our own homes and blocks. We will practice our 9 Steps and our radio communications. The time frame is the “Golden Hour” so from 3pm until about 4pm, followed by a group debrief that could last until 4:30 or 5pm. To participate in the Map Your Neighborhood Drill, turn on your FRS radio to channel 5 at 3pm to monitor the neighborhood activity. Soon, a decision will be made to begin a MYN response. Follow your first 6 steps at home and then go to your designated Neighborhood Gathering Site by 3:15. If you don’t remember where that is, check your booklet or contact your block coordinator. There, you will form teams to check on your block, as described in your booklet. The teams that check the block will encounter yellow signs describing various damage and injuries. Each team will get a radio (walkie-talkie). If your have your own radio, bring it (fully charged or with new batteries). If you aren’t sure which block you’re in or where your neigborhood gathering site is located, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our communications team has worked hard to develop a new plan that will help us communicate within our blocks and with other blocks by creating communication “hubs” at key tested higher elevation sites. We will be looking for volunteers to be stationed at these points. If you might be interested in helping your neighborhood in this way, please contact us this week and we’ll arrange to get you the equipment and instructions you’ll need.
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Batallion 2 Coordinators are planning an exercise for CERT damage assessment and response starting around the same time. This will take place in our neighborhood, but in blocks than haven’t yet had a Map Your Neighborhood meeting. If you live in one of these blocks, you may see CERT teams walking up and down your street. CERT members from all over the Northeast LA area will be invited to participate, as if they lived in Mt. Washington. To sign up for the CERT portion, register here. The drill will continue past sunset so please be prepared with flashlights.
In a large-scale disaster, government resources may be overwhelmed and unable to immediately assist citizens in their community. Emergency response personnel may be delayed for hours, even days. Preparing the community is vital in preparedness and resiliency.
Plan to participate either with your Map your Neighborhood block or as a CERT trained responder. Drill hours are 3pm – 9pm. The MYN portion is expected to run from 3-5pm, however, MYN participants are encourage to participate in the CERT portion as volunteers or as observers. If you’re not sure where to go, go to the MWJN information booth in 5 Points anytime after 3pm.
Oct. 5, 2019 DISASTER DRILL INSTRUCTIONS
The scenario is a severe windstorm. We hear of downed trees and power outages around the neighborhood. At 3PM, the winds quiet and it’s safe to go out. If you have an FRS “walkie talkie” radio, turn it on and listen to channel 5. There is an announcement that the damage is citywide, and that we should activate the Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) plans.
[3:00PM] Start your MYN 9 Steps response (refer to your booklet)!
- Check yourself, your family & pets, your home, dress for safety
- Put up your HELP/OK (Drill) sign
- Take MYN booklet and FRS radio and go to Gathering Site
[about 3:15] There you will organize teams to check for injuries & damage.
Two or more people stay at the Gathering Site with “Base” radios, and team(s) of three or more people take an MYN booklet and “Team” radio(s), and search the block (refer to booklet map).
The Team(s) will find yellow Incident cards on power poles or other locations near the street (do not go on private property). At each incident, the team discusses what to do: deal with the things they can do (e.g. move a fallen branch away from a front door); call the Base via radio for help with things they can’t do (e.g. send a CERT Medical Team); in general, report things to the Base to provide area status.
If an incident is “handled” please remove the card; if you called for help, leave the card and the helping team will remove it.
When the team(s) have covered the block, they should return to the Gathering Site.
[about 4:30] Review the Drill results with your block members – what went well, how can we improve in future drills – and in real disasters!
[about 5:00] Please join the other blocks at Five Points for a general Drill debriefing and refreshments. CERT activities will continue, with a simulated medical incident in Cleland Park, until 8:00PM.