As of TODAY, March 21, 2020, we have been activated to assist the county in the COVID-19 response efforts. Our help was requested by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and approved by the Fire Chief. You can expect to see several communications from us over the next few days requesting help on different tasks. We will be assisting with the Donations and Volunteer Management (ESF 16) management beginning this week. Right now, you do not need to do anything until requested. We will be adding missions very soon which we are developing with our OEMHS partners.
Since we are in the activation mode, some things are important to note: Remember from your training that we operate on a para-military style command structure based on NIMS. That means that while we are always collegial, we are not a debating society and the lines of command and control (particularly span of control), must be followed strictly. While I appreciate hearing from each of you under normal circumstances, please follow your chain of command as the roles are assigned.
Our operational lead for this activation is Gerry Adcock. Dave Mroz is our Go Team group leader. Other groups on the NIMS structure will be announced and staffed as we build our IAP.
You will receive a CERVIS message this weekend with a link to an opt-in SITUATION REPORT (Sitrep) online form. The CERVIS message will contain instructions on how and when to use this. We created this capability so any CERT could report a member of the household with signs and symptoms of suspected COVID-19, and/or request non-emergent assistance from our CERT organization. Look for the CERVIS email on this effort soon, and remember it is completely voluntary.
Our Digital group is working on video conferencing options for our needs.
We are in frequent contact with our National Capitol Region (NCR) CERT partners and are offering them the Sitrep template that our Digital and VERT groups developed.
Our COVID-19 page on our website http://montgomerycert.org/covid-19/ contains links to official information sources and a downloadable PPE training presentation for this month’s General Meeting.
Lastly, let me offer a personal observation or two: please remember that we have spent years training and preparing for a season like this. While all disasters are unique, they all share some similarities:
- The resilience and ultimate recovery of any locality is a community effort and requires an “all hands on deck” attitude.
- Truth has been said to be the first casualty of war, and the only thing that can spread faster than a virus is a rumor.
- Communities and families rely on calm and informed leadership to weather the storm.
As CERTs, our families, community and colleagues look to each of us to provide that example. While there is much to concern us, fear serves no purpose. Each generation of Americans has been presented a profound challenge, each has risen to the occasion, and so will we. Remember your training, stay calm, practice safe conduct, and let’s be kind to each other.
On behalf of Division Chief Mike Kelly and your CERT leadership team,