June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

CERT program hopes to seek resilience hub grant

4 min read
Carlos Barrera: We need tools and equipment for building shelters for people who may be displaced by a major earthquake or a big fire. We need equipment for processing food to help feed people who may have been displaced from their homes and lost their own emergency supplies.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program hopes to apply in November for grants to start stockpiling disaster supplies. Introducing the topic at the Neighborhood Leaders Council May 28:

Carlos Barrera (Friendly Area Neighbors): I’m here on behalf of CERT, which is the Community Emergency Response Team. It’s a FEMA program whose purpose is to be…first responders in the event of a disaster.

[00:00:24] People take classes, approximately 20 hours of training in medical triage, light search and rescue, firefighting, use of radios for communicating with the various organizations like the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). And we have been graduating people from our program for some time.

[00:00:47] We have two classes a year, and the next one will be this August. But we need more trainings, and we need—in order to be prepared for a disaster—we need tools and we need materials.

[00:01:01] We need tools and equipment for building shelters for people who may be displaced by a major earthquake or a big fire. We need equipment for processing food that in order to help feed people who may have been displaced from their homes and lost their own emergency supplies.

[00:01:19] The city has done stuff like sunk wells so that in the event that the water system is knocked out of operation, it will still be possible to get water for people. And the CERT graduates have been trained to operate those wells, those distribution centers.

[00:01:37] We anticipate that the federal government, the state government will bring in supplies such as food or blankets, and things like that to these points of distribution and we are being trained to operate those centers so that we can help the community to deal with a disaster.

[00:01:56] Now, this last year, the state legislature authorized $10 million to be given out as grants to various organizations to provide services, particularly to underserviced populations such as people of color, aged people, people who have been overlooked in terms of receiving services.

[00:02:20] And we know that CERT is qualified to apply for these grants so that we can do things like get big storage containers in order to stockpile supplies that would be useful for dealing with the aftermath of a major disaster.

[00:02:37] The Oregon Department of Human Services is administering that and they have an application that we want to fill out for next year in case the legislature approves more money. And if we can get some of that money, we can start stockpiling the supplies that we would need in order to provide our mission of serving the community.

[00:02:58] So what I’m here for is to ask the NLC for your endorsement for the CERTs so that ENI (Eugene Neighborhoods, Inc.) can collect these grant monies and then serve as the fiduciary agent to disburse that money to vendors who might be selling us tools or materials or equipment for our mission.

[00:03:21] So, that’s basically why I’m here. ENI has already agreed that if the NLC will endorse this, that they will agree to become the fiduciary agency to handle these grants that we said we might receive.

[00:03:39] Randy Prince (ENI, Amazon Neighborhood Association): Yeah, at the ENI meeting, it was decided to pass some of the review of this to the NLC committee, the Eugene Neighborhood Preparedness Network, and we found it pretty worthwhile. We’re willing to recommend that there are conditions before the grant application can be finalized, that has to do with the governance of the council that coordinates these CERT organizations. There’s some tidying up in the charter that needs to be done.

[00:04:10] But we do like the idea. The CERTs are very valuable to the neighborhood efforts. There’s the ‘Know Your Neighbor and Notify Them,’ the radio networks. So I think this will be a very helpful thing.

[00:04:23] John Q: One neighborhood recommended postponing a vote until they can see the proposal in writing.

[00:04:31] Jon Belcher (River Road): I guess I’m responding from one of my neighbors who is working on the Northwest Eugene effort, and that person’s perception is that there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the whole emergency preparedness process—city, county, COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), CERT, et cetera—that it’s contentious. That’s my concern.

[00:04:56] John Q: The CERTs hope to apply for a resilience hub grant. With some small changes to the CERT program’s bylaws, and the grant request in writing, they’ll be back to seek the endorsement of the Neighborhood Leaders Council.

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