The Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) held its annual dinner and election on Nov. 20. Following the social time, President Paul Bowling acknowledged the current officers and committee chairs.

Offices/Officers:

  • President – Paul Bowling
  • Vice President – Bruce Morgenstern
  • Secretary – Rick Cooper
  • Treasurer – Paul Bowling (acting)
  • CERT Coordinator – Joe Dorffner

Administrative Committees/Chairs:

  • Communications – Jonathan Hutson (PIO)
  • Development – Vacant
  • Activities – Rosy Dorffner
  • Communications (Radio) – Erick Graves

District-Level Team Leaders

  • Northern District – Matthew Yates
  • Eastern District – Neal Anders
  • Western District – Randy Benninghove
  • Southern District – Amy Bleich

Operational Groups:

  • Search & Rescue – Randy Benninghove
  • Communications – Randy Sanger
  • Shelter Operations – Rosy Dorffner
  • Traffic – Joe Dorffner
  • Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Direct Support – Bruce Morgenstern

2019 Accomplishments

Bruce Morgenstern then highlighted AAACERT’s 2019 accomplishments:

  • 60 AAACERT members have completed the training required to be NIMS-compliant. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a standardized, comprehensive approach to incident management that can apply to emergencies of all types and sizes. NIMS is intended to be both flexible to work in all incidents, and standardized, to provide a coordinated, efficient response to each incident.
  • AAACERT is approved to support Anne Arundel County Police directly for events. As a first step, AAACERT has provided assistance with the Pasadena Business Association’s Parade.
  • Fourteen AAACERT members are SARTECH III-trained. This means that they have completed the basic level of Search and Rescue Tech III training provided through the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR), in order to assist with light search and rescue.
  • Three AAACERT members are SARTECH II-trained, which is the next higher level of search and rescue training.
  • AAACERT purchased a communications repeater to improve communications during large area events.

Membership Notes

Bruce noted the following numbers regarding membership:

  • There are currently 94 AAACERT members, of whom 48 are operational; five more await background checks.
  • 18 AAACERT members are traffic-management trained.
  • 16 AAACERT members have been trained for call-taking with the Anne Arundel County OEM.
  • 11 AAACERT members have been trained for call-taking with the Annapolis OEM.
  • 18 AAACERT members have parade marshal training.
  • 14 AAACERT members have SARTECH III training; 3 have SARTECH II.
  • 45 AAACERT members have met the participation hours requirement for 2019 as of Nov. 20.

Volunteer Hour Breakdown

Bruce then reported on how AAACERT volunteer hours have been spent in 2019.

  • 600 hours have supported AAACERT training.
  • 212 hours were logged for six parades.
  • Exercise participation accounted for 120 hours.
  • Volunteers put in 136 hours (plus 29 hours for bag-stuffing) for the Anne Arundel County Emergency Preparedness Expo.
  • AAACERT gave 46 hours to two SPCA events.
  • AAACERT was operational for 28 hours in one incident (the February winter storm) for call taking.

Background Check Status

Bruce reported on the status of background checks, which have been delayed in 2019. He noted that existing checks are not affected, though some will expire in Oct. 2020. However, from now on, the background check application will be online, with the fee to be shared between the county and the individual. Member cost is anticipated to be $8.50. Results will be shared with the applicant and OEM. OEM’s determination is final, and there are no appeals in the rare occurrence of a negative check.

Training Update

According to Bruce, the following training occurred in 2019:

  • There were nine monthly trainings, for a total of 279 hours, averaging 19 members per meeting.
  • AAACERT members took 666 hours of additional specialized training (call taker, traffic, etc.).
  • 46 adults completed Basic CERT training.
  • 34 teens completed Basic CERT training in two separate trainings.

2020 Plans

Bruce laid out the following 2020 plans and goals for AAACERT:

  • Formally affiliate with a Search & Rescue group(s).
  • Expand our support for the Anne Arundel County Police.
  • Pursue additional grant opportunities for operational needs.
  • Develop a strategic plan for the next three years, and begin development of tactical plans to meet our strategic objectives.
  • Empower the four district team leads (see above).
  • Create operational groups (see above).

Financial Notes

He advised the AAACERT members present that 2020 dues ($10) are due by Dec. 31. Dues and donations pay for AAACERT’s insurance, website fees, D4H, and administrative expenses. Any grants we obtain are focused on purchase of equipment and items.

Guest Reports

Jim Krempel, representing the Anne Arundel OEM, thanked all of the volunteers present for their service. He honored AAACERT member Erick Graves with a challenge coin for Eric’s exemplary work this year for AAACERT and ARES.

Dave Mandell, the Annapolis OEM Deputy Director, also thanked AAACERT for its continuing partnership with the city.

Lastly, Del. Mark Chang (D-Dist. 32) spoke on behalf of the Maryland General Assembly to thank AAACERT for its support of the 600,000+ residents of Anne Arundel County. He said the county has significant needs for emergency support, and that AAACERT plays a key role in meeting them.

Ham Radio

Paul announced that the AAACERT Ham radio net operates on the third Tuesday of every month at 442.3/107.2.

Elections

The group held elections for new officers. Paul Bowling will step down from the presidency in 2020, and Bruce Morgenstern will become the new president. Rick Cooper was re-elected as secretary. In accordance with the AAACERT by-laws, vacant/acting positions (Vice President and Treasurer) will be appointed by the Board at its December meeting. In late 2020, AAACERT will hold elections for the other positions on the board, namely Vice President, Treasurer, and CERT Coordinator.