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National Night Out 2021, Thank You

AAACERT Tent at NNO 2021
Members of AAACERT relax before the public begins to show up for National Night Out 2021.

We would like to thank everyone that visited our tent during the 2021 National Night Out event held at the Earleigh Heights VFC. The sun stayed away and the wind kept things at a very nice temperature after days of 90 plus degrees.

Helping people at NNO 2021
AAACERT members explain the history and purpose of the CERT program.

We provided disaster preparedness material to visitors including flash cards with checklists of items to have on hand during a disaster such as a violent storms like tornados, hurricanes, or major wind. 

If you visited our tent and signed our training email list, you also entered into our

giveaway for a one of two preparedness kits. Congrats to the winners.

AAC OEM tent
We also want to thank AAC OEM. Often our tent neighbors at events it is always nice to see you, too! 

2021 National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Please join AAACERT in thanking these dedicated men and women.

A message from Captain Erik Konmeyer
Anne Arundel County Fire Department, Fire Communications

AACFD logoThe Anne Arundel County Fire Department is celebrating the second full week of April (April 11-17, 2021) as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and celebrated annually, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

Twenty-eight Fire Communications Operators (FCO) and eight lieutenants staff Fire Alarm on a 24/72 shift schedule. Eleven newly hired FCOs and four lieutenants were trained in 2020 to make this staffing model a reality for years to come. This 24/72 schedule, started in January, 2020, has improved morale, and improved efficiency by creating continuity between field and personnel members. FCOs receive more than 1,000 hours of initial training, including certification in Emergency Medical Dispatch, and Emergency Fire Dispatch.

These calm voices on the 911 telephones and on the radio waves quite often go unnoticed, but the Anne Arundel County Fire Department consider the members of Fire Alarm to be the “Golden Glue that holds it all together” for our Department. If anyone from your organization is interested in recognizing the members of our Communications Center in any way during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, please contact Captain Erik Kornmeyer at ErikKornmeyer@aacounty.org. Letters of thanks can be mailed to the following address:

Anne Arundel County Fire Department
Fire Communications
8501 Veterans Highway
Millersville, MD 21108

April is Flood Awareness Month

AAC OEM Disaster Dispatch Spring 2021

AAACERT is happy to share the following Spring 2021 Disaster Dispatch from the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management quarterly Newsletter.

In this issue you will find information about Flood Awareness including tools to see your community’s risk, a message from Director Preeti Emrick, Financial Emergency Preparedness tools, and a number of important contacts at the Office of Emergency Management.

Please click the link below to see the PDF of the Newsletter.

https://docs.aaacert.org/s/xpNJoeBAafHcoqA

NPPW2021: When Seconds Count

In a poisoning emergency, seconds count.

poison centers english

Call 1-800-222-1222 to connect with nurses, pharmacists, and doctors who can give you accurate, life-saving treatment advice. Add the poison center hotline to your contacts today, so you can be prepared. #NPPW21

 

poison centers spanish

 

NPPW2021: Cleaning Safety + COVID-19

Are your household cleaners locked up, or stored up and away from a child’s reach?

prepare prevent protect english

Cleaners can be poisonous so this #NPPW21 take steps to prevent this common poisoning risk.

 

That also includes hand sanitizer and other disinfectants being used to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

prepare prevent protect spanish

WHEN LIFE HAPPENS…

We get it – life happens. Poison centers are ready 24/7 with fast and free advice. When you have a question, their healthcare professionals have answers.

Everyday poison centers answer questions and help in emergencies because life happens.

Dial 1-800-222-1222 for anything from your child swallowed a button battery, a snake bite to food poisoning.

#NPPW21

DID YOU KNOW: Poisonings In The Home

Did yoPrepare. Prevent. Protect. National Poison Prevention Week.u know: More than 90% of poisonings happen in the home.

Join AAA CERT March 21-27 for National Poison Prevention Week.

We’ll share safety tips from poison center professionals on support; poison control and prevention; and much more. #NPPW21

Congratulations to AAACERT Members!

A message from Bruce Morgenstern, President, Anne Arundel-Annapolis CERT.

Our first congratulations goes to Randy Sanger. Randy has been appointed to a position with the Maryland State Fire Commission. Of course, an appointment like this comes with added responsibilities, and with mixed emotions, Randy has had to tender his resignation as AAACERT Vice President. Randy has assured us that he and Toni really enjoy being part of AAACERT and will continue to volunteer and support us whenever they can. Randy has been instrumental in guiding us along our path to improved radio communications using the County’s trunked radio system, facilitating connections with fire department communications personnel and using his expertise to help structure a best solution for AAACERT. THANKS, RANDY!

So…that leaves us with a vacancy.

In accordance with our by-laws…Any vacancies among the Officers of the corporation, regardless of the reason therefore, may be filled by the vote of a majority of the Directors for the unexpired portion of the term.

Randy’s term as Vice President was set to expire on December 31, 2022/

Your Board of Directors reviewed potential candidates, and at our most recent meeting on February 25th unanimously elected Brandon Gosnell to fill Randy’s remaining term. Brandon has been an active volunteer and a significant contributor to AAACERT’s growth in the last year. Brandon heads our IT/Communications/Public Affairs Committee, and is responsible for our significantly improved website, our enhanced social media presence (now including a LinkedIn page), enhanced e-mail capability, and the creation of a documentation management system so that we can easily share important AAACERT information. Quite an accomplishment! Job well done, Brandon. Congratulations and thanks for stepping up to help lead AAACERT.

Bruce Morgenstern

Did You Know…?

YouTube Logo

Did you know AAACERT has a YouTube channel? Check us out and be sure to subscribe to be notified when new videos are uploaded.

Right now we have a few older videos and one new one from this year’s SPCA Lights on the Bay traffic management event. We are always interested in having you take the CERT Basic training and joining. See our website’s membership pages for details.

Introducing…Our New Site!

AAACERT is proud to announce our newly redesigned website. We hope this site helps visitors more easily navigate to the information they need while providing more information on the activities of Anne Arundel-Annapolis CERT.

Visit the new site; then tell us what you think on our Facebook page.

Annual Meeting Focuses on 2021 Strategic View

Image of front and back of challenge coin. Front: Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team COVID-19; Back: Anne Arundel CERT Serving Our Communities 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic
The front and back of the challenge coin issued to AAACERT members who have served as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. (Photo: AAACERT)

The Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) conducted its annual meeting on Nov. 18, 2020. Some members were co-located at Libations Restaurant in Millersville, MD, while numerous others tuned in via teleconference. President Bruce Morgenstern led the meeting from home. The meeting both reflected on AAACERT accomplishments in 2020 during the ongoing pandemic, as well as focusing on the planned 2021 Strategic View for the organization.

Remarks from County Officials
Near the start of the meeting, Anne Arundel County OEM Director Preeti Emrick acknowledged the significant work AAACERT has done in this atypical year, noting that OEM strongly depends on volunteers in the community. She particularly noted the assistance AAACERT has provided as Emergency Operations Center (EOC) calltakers during a time of extremely high call volume; workers who have pitched in with Donations Warehouse and Food Bank operations; volunteers who have supported OEM- and church-led food giveaways; and those individuals who have served as Annapolis city safety ambassadors. Director Emrick offered particular appreciation for Mr. Joseph Dorffner, AAACERT Coordinator, for the many hours Joe has put in gathering and aligning volunteers to the mission, and to President Bruce Morgenstern for his strong efforts.

Mr. Jim Krempel, the Community Outreach Coordinator, added his appreciation that, amid an ongoing health emergency, AAACERT has managed to conduct three CERT Basic courses. Mr. Krempel said that, to his knowledge, AAACERT is the only CERT organization in the state of Maryland that has done so.

Remarks from AAACERT President
Mr. Morgenstern then singled out numerous individuals for his appreciation. He thanked Ms. Rosy Dorffner for putting the Annual Meeting Event together; Mr. Brandon Gosnell for managing the challenging IT setup at Libations; Mr. Joe Dorffner for putting in so many hours as coordinator; and all 54 operational CERT members, whom he noted have put in more than 5,400 hours of COVID-19-related volunteer work in 2020. Bruce noted that there remain challenges ahead, including a critical shortage of OEM call takers, food distribution helpers, and Annapolis safety ambassadors.

2020 Year in Review
Mr. Dorffner reported that AAACERT has logged 5,544 hours specifically dedicated to COVID-19 response to date in 2020.

Mr. Paul Bowling highlighted that training accomplishments by the group included 10 monthly training sessions averaging 25 members per program. In February, Anne Arundel Community College Emergency Manager Arlene Crow conducted a timely companion workshop to the movie “Contagion.” In the fall of 2020, AAACERT conducted three basic CERT classes, currently yielding 12 new AAACERT members. Training topics were diverse over the year, including Amateur Radio Communications, Medical Emergencies, Hygiene & Sanitation, Firearm Safety, Planning for the “Hurridemic,” Windshield Assessment, the Emergency Response Guide, and COVID Impact (Community, Non-Profits, and First Responders and Lessons Learned). The team also conducted specialized training in Hazardous Materials, Search and Rescue, Call Taking, and Traffic Management. Finally, AAACERT held two “Train the Trainer” classes, instructing 23 AAACERT members, Adventist Community Services CERT-trained leaders, and a Calvert County Emergency Management Specialist.

Mr. Morgenstern then addressed membership. He noted that membership decreased from 94 to 86 members from 2019 to 2020, but that 71% of the current number are fully operational. Additionally, 76% of the total members are NIMS-compliant, having taken all of the requisite training to be properly educated in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Bruce then reported that the AAACERT team has worked a total of more than 7,000 hours in total volunteer assistance, including the COVID-19-related activities. The percentage of current members meeting current operational hours requirements has increased from 54% to 60%, with two months remaining.

2021 Strategic View
Mr. Morgenstern then presented AAACERT’s 2021 Strategic View, noting goals that are focused on Organization, Membership, Training for the Community, Training for CERT members, Operations, Development, Logistics, Radio Communications, and IT/Communications/Public Affairs. The following individuals addressed these strategic goals:

Organizational (Bruce Morgenstern): Formalize relationships with more partner agencies and non-profits.
Membership (Bruce Morgenstern): Enhance and expand membership rolls with members who wish to actively engage with the community.
• Training for Community Members (Bruce Morgenstern): In addition to Basic CERT and in coordination with OEM, develop an outreach program that acquaints community members with AAACERT and provides valuable emergency preparedness and response information.
Training for AAACERT Members (Paul Bowling): Create the right balance of skills reinforcement training and new training initiatives to ensure readiness, and maintain member interest and growth. (This will include CERT Basic course – including high schools– monthly meetings, specialized teams, exercises, and miscellaneous offerings.) Monthly trainings will continue on the third Wednesday of each month except November; specialized team training will include EOC, First Aid, Search and Rescue, Sheltering, and Traffic; training suggestions may be sent to Training@AAACERT.org. Some training possibilities include First Aid / CPR / AED, Call Taker, WebEOC, Traffic, Parade Marshals, SAR Tech III, SAR Tech II, CBRNE, Stop The Bleed, and Narcan. Exercise options include Mass Casualty Incident response, Search and Rescue, or Vaccine Dispensing (would be coordinated with Maryland and/or Anne Arundel County Department of Health).
Operations (Joe Dorffner): Facilitate the creation of functional teams that will have the necessary skills and depth to respond to emerging needs; work with training to develop a program of training and exercises that will enhance member operational response; work with the executive committee to develop a plan for rapid expansion in response to a large-scale disaster (e.g., recruitment, just-in-time training, oversight, deployment).
Development (Paul Bowling): Address organizational needs and develop a plan for funds acquisition (e.g., grants, fundraisers, other revenue sources); create a repository of materials that will facilitate our response to grant applications. Paul noted that fewer grants are available due to COVID-19; that BG&E, which has provided a substantial grant in the past, has suspended grants for 2021; and that other grant sources are diminishing. He asked the members for fundraising ideas and participants. AAACERT has a planning deficit of $995 in 2020, and wishes to avoid use of its “rainy day” funds.
Logistics (Chris Meyd): Attain full accountability of all AAACERT assets, identify maintenance/replacement requirements for existing assets, develop a plan for restocking consumables, and simplify the purchasing process.
Radio Communications (Randy Sanger): Develop a strategic plan for evolving radio communications and establishing improved interoperability with coordinating agencies.
• IT/Communications/Public Affairs (Brandon Gosnell): Create a more robust infrastructure for data/file management; improve organizational promotion through enhanced social media and website engagement; create an expansive repository of photos, images, and other materials; work with regional groups to expand our digital communications.

Election of Officers
Mr. Rick Cooper, AAACERT Secretary, then called for nominations from the floor for the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, and Coordinator. He indicated that the Board recommended the current office holders and that these members are willing to serve another term, and asked if there was any discussion precluding that course of action. Hearing no dissenting views, the group elected the following by voice vote:

Vice President: Randy Sanger
Treasurer: Paul Bowling
Coordinator: Joe Dorffner

Closing Actions
Mr. Gosnell noted that Amazon orders can be a source of income if people designate AAACERT as recipients of their donations, via smile.Amazon.com.

Mr. Dorffner handed out challenge coins to 54 individuals who have participated in activities that are part of the COVID-19 pandemic response in 2020.

Mr. Morgenstern adjourned the meeting.

Annual Meeting and Elections — 2019

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.

Annual Meeting and Elections — 2018

The 2018 Anne Arundel – Annapolis CERT annual meeting and election of officers will be held during the month of November. Date and location will be posted once finalized.

Additional details will be forthcoming on nominations for officers.

Anne Arundel County Emergency Preparedness Expo

AAACERT participated in the Anne Arundel County Emergency Preparedness Expo on 12 September. Despite the rain there was a good turnout. Often deafened and interrupted by the MSP sirens behind us, we managed to talk to quite a number of attendees and vendors. Several people expressed interest in upcoming CERT Basic Training and becoming members of AAACERT. Two members from a local team want to transfer to AAACERT as they are live in Anne Arundel county and is more convenient to them.

We gave away 2 gift certificates, one to Home Depot for $50.00 and one to TGI Friday’s for $25.00. The winner of the Home Depot Gift Certificate was Eva Marino and the winner of the TGI Fridays Gift Certificate was Kim Auman.

What pet owners need to think about in the event of an emergency

I’ve been asked by Mike Simpson, Chairperson, Anne Arundel and Annapolis Citizen Corps Council to pass along this announcement for their upcoming meeting. Looks like a great topic especially for those of us who have (and are responsible for) pets. Hope to see you there. There is no RSVP.

Date: Wednesday, August 26
Time: 19:30
Location: Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy
Speaker: June Gravitte
Topic: What pet owners need to think about in the event of an emergency.

The guest speaker will be June Gravitte, former Noah’s Wish Assistant Coordinator for Region 8, primarily responsible for Baltimore/Washington area networking (MDSART, Maryland VOAD, Prince George’s County CERT/Citizen Corps).  She  will be addressing what pet owners need to do and think about in the event of an emergency,  focusing on the basics of survival including evacuation, sheltering options, food and water as well as providing an overview of what Anne Arundel County  groups responsible for animals in disasters should consider when preparing for disaster responses.  June was part of animal sheltering deployments for Hurricanes: Katrina 2005; Gustav and Ike: 2008 (Ike was also with EARS/HSUS) Wildfire:  Lillooet, British Columbia 2010.

2015 Disaster Volunteer Conference: Becoming Response Ready – Working with Diverse Populations! – NYC

NYC Citizen Corps invites you to the 2015 Disaster Volunteer Conference: Becoming Response Ready – Working with Diverse Populations!

The Disaster Volunteer Conference was first launched in 2007 and brings together volunteers that are involved in disaster response and recovery work.  This year’s conference will focus on workshops to help disaster volunteers become more efficient and effective in engaging vulnerable populations in an emergency or disaster response.

Doors will open at 5:30 PM. There will be light refreshments available. The program will start promptly at 6:00 PM. The Baruch College William and Anita Vertical Conference Center is fully accessible. If you need any other accommodations please indicate them through the event registration.

Register HERE

Workshops:

  • A Helping Hand: Working with People with Access and Functional Needs
    (Eli Fresquez, Senior Human Services Disability Access and Functional Needs (DAFN) Planner, NYC Emergency Management)
  • Engaging Faith Communities in Disaster, Increasing Religious Competency & Literacy
    (Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div, President, National Disaster Interfaiths Network/NDIN)
  • Get Ready, Get Safe: Preparing Communities to Protect Children in Disasters
    (Jennifer Smith, Community Preparedness Manager (NY, NJ, CT), Save the Children USA)

  • Listen, Protect, and Connect: Responding to Trauma and Creating Community Resilience
    (Lisa Furst, LMSW, MPH, Director of Public Education, The Mental Health Association of NYC, Inc.)
  • Transformative Change: Diversity and Cultural Competency
    (Imani Keith Henry, MSW, MPA, Diversity Trainer/Organizational Development Consultant, OD for the People)

    Register HERE

2015 Disaster Volunteer Planning Committee representatives from:

  • The American Red Cross – Greater New York (ARC-GNY)
  • Medical Reserve Corps of NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
  • New York Association for Volunteers (NYAVA)
  • New York Cares
  • NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA)
  • NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM)
  • The Salvation Army – Greater New York Division

Welcome to Anne Arundel – Annapolis CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)

Anne Arundel County and City of Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) welcomes you to our new blog / website!

We will use our blog to post information and news of interest to the communities of our area. We will discuss preparedness for disasters and emergencies and activities of our team.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of Anne Arundel – Annapolis CERT (AAACERT) send us a message on the “Contact Us” Tab.