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WS CERT CELEBRATES 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY The West Seneca Office of Disaster Preparedness, organized by Michael Kerl and John Gullo, who both felt that empowering community members in emergency training would benefit individuals and the community as a whole. Training began in 2006 on a small scale, as a test to see if there was interest in the community. The program was well received by the public. The concern was how the emergency service providers in town would embrace the team. The program continued to grow and has been accepted by emergency personnel as a valuable resource for the community. The West Seneca CERT Team was officially organized on January 1, 2006. The West Seneca CERT team has conducted various emergency and non-emergency drills over the years. It has been a valuable experience meeting individuals that want to assist their community. We have facilitated classes with hundreds of people being trained by the program. Beyond the basic training, a large effort has been underway to have members of the team obtain their Amateur Radio License for communications. Communications is a huge component that is used during emergency events Most of the team also has a current CPR card and continuing training is done monthly on various topics. Training includes everything from Search & Rescue to Disaster Simulation Training. The team consists of approximately 100 members. Members have diverse background and work together well. Members include local residents who wish to help their community. Back-

ground of members range from office worker, factory workers, nurses, school personnel, business owners and much more. We have three team leaders and 6 unit leaders along with a few other critical leaders, such as scribe, social media and communications. John Morrow and Howard Marien have been instrumental as leaders in this organization, along with other valuable leaders.


Continued from front There is no dedicated funding for the CERT team; we operate on donations or grants. Most notably in 2012, the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce recognized the West Seneca CERT team as Community Service Organization of the Year. This honor was bestowed upon us for the service we provide to the West Seneca Community. After Winter Storm Knife the team was recognized by the State of New York for all the efforts handled by our local team which became a hub for services. Members helped staff a 24 hour local Call Center in our West Seneca Emergency Operations Center, Delivered medications, food and other goods, shoveled driveway and pathways. Our team has also been utilized during the December 2010 Snow Storm, H1N1 point of distribution center management and other important events. You will find the West Seneca CERT team represented at the Civic & Patriotic events, The Ride for Roswell & National Night Out, Taste of West Seneca. Look for The West Seneca CERT Team at other community outreach events. We encourage you to see if CERT is something that you would like to participate in. Join us on the 2nd Monday of each month for our drills to learn emergency preparedness skills. Visit our website at or our facebook page: WestSenecaCERT/


There are times during disasters when first responders are or will be overwhelmed and unable to do all that needs to be completed without the help from volunteers. Volunteers who help do non hazardous work in an organized fashion. Volunteers play an important role in disaster response and having them trained properly is a key to success. It saves lives and money as volunteers take on major tasks to assist the community. It is good to be personally prepared but the next step is joining a team or organization. Such organizations include our West Seneca Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), other Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), volunteer fire service, volunteer ambulance groups, Churches and other associations such as American Red Cross. One problem we have as emergency managers is spontaneous volunteers who mean well in a catastrophic event. They can be helpful but also create complications. During an incident is not the time to do a background check or train them in the middle of the incident. As managers we will use those we have trained and trained with. A CERT is usually under the direction of an Emergency Manager Fire Department or Police Service. The CERT team has been trained to work the shelters, Emergency Operations Centers and are an information conduit to the Emergency Managers. Teams are trained to perform many different functions for the emergency management system. The effort before an incident is invaluable and the ideal situation. So the next question is where do you begin that search for the right program? Sign up for training at one of our upcoming trainings. The West Seneca office of Disaster preparedness will be hosting the some annual programs and special training such as; Community Emergency Response Team training; HAM Radio licensing; advanced basic first aid and a CPR class. Watch our website or our facebook page and other forms of media. We always welcome individuals for the training even if they are not joining the team in an effort to have the community best prepared as possible for any event. Our phrase is “not if, but when it happens we want to be prepared for any emergency�.



Many of our CERT members have asked if there are places on the Internet that they can visit to learn survival skills. Google “Survival Skills” and you literally will receive hundreds upon hundreds of website hits offering advice on how to survive just about every disaster that you can imagine (except how to survive the overwhelming number of websites). Of course if hard cover reading is your cup of tea, there are many fine books that have been published on the art of survival. One excellent piece of reading is author Creek Stewart’s “Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit” In his book, Mr. Stewart details from start to finish everything you need to gather for 72 hours of independent survival--water, food, protection, shelter, survival tools, and much more. I am sure that many of us have watched the CBS reality show “Survival” and wondered how we would fare under the circumstances facing the contestants. I’m sure many of us have scoffed at what some of the “survivalists” were doing, saying we could do a much better job. Perhaps. The real world is a little scarier place than the controlled area of the hit reality show. In a real disaster or while under extreme duress, we don’t know what to expect or how we might react. We need to prepare for the unexpected and the uncontrolled situations the best that we can. Unfortunately, without the aid of a crystal ball, we cannot foresee everything that will occur. First of all, survival is mostly common sense. Try not to place yourself in a situation that forces you into a survival situation. For example, don’t decide to take a long hike into the woods without being fully prepared. While we hope that the hike will be trouble free and fun, you must face the reality that there is always a hint of danger, even in something as innocent as a little leisurely walk into the woods. The number one golden rule is, never wander off on your own! Make sure you should always have a buddy. If that’s not possible, think and use your common sense. Are you properly dressed for the weather and terrain you will face? Remember, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. Do you have enough outerwear, gloves and good hiking shoes? How about water, some nutrition bars, map, matches, first-aid kit and do you have a communication device: walkie-talkie, amateur

radio or even a cell phone. This is by no means a complete list of items you should have. You never know what you will encounter, so before you decide to take a stroll through nature, sit down and think about what you are going to do and where you plan on heading. Try to plan for as many scenarios as you can and pack the appropriate gear. Remember, if you are going hiking by yourself, know your limits and try not to place yourself in a situation that may lead to a survival situation! Natural and man-made emergencies occur all around us. When we are trapped in an emergency situation, events will happen faster than the average normal human can process. When in an emergency situation, our emotional state becomes highly aroused, which causes us to limit the number of alternatives we might consider. Under normal circumstances we probably could determine a proper course of action to get us out of a crisis situation, but an emergency causes us to have impaired judgment. How to minimize a potential disaster situation? Think, know your surrounding and plan in advance should a misfortune occur. Simple and common things like: where is the exit in a building or theater; where is the emergency door and/or flotation devices on a ship or airplane; or what is the evacuation route out of your hotel. The more you know and understand your surroundings, the better you will be prepared in an emergency situation. Remember, you can survive an emergency situation, not because you are braver or more heroic than anyone else, but because you are better prepared. Think about it.



UPCOMING TRAINING & EVENTS CALENDAR April 2 Preparedness Classes & CERT EMPact America of New York 13 Elma CERT meeting 18 West Seneca CERT Drill Disaster Mental Health Response to Mass Disaster

PUBLIC EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TRAINING Senator Gallivan, West Seneca Office of Disaster Preparedness and the West Seneca CERT hosted public forums on Emergency Preparedness over the past few months. Approximately 800 people attended the various workshops.

26 Pump Up your Gardening Class Elma Senior Center 30 West Seneca CERT Anniversary Harvey D. Morin Post May 4 HAM Radio Class West Seneca EOC 7 Free Pet CPR & First Aid EMPact America of NewYork 11 Elma CERT meeting 14 Firearm Safety & NY Pistol Permit Course East Aurora Theatre 16 West Seneca CERT Drill Disaster Drill - WS EOC June 8 Elma CERT meeting

PUMPING UP YOUR GARDEN WITH POLLINATORS Elma CERT and EMPact America of New York will be hosting Speakers from the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm and Masterson’s Garden Center offering their expertise. No matter if you have a wildflower, vegetable or herb garden, pollinating your garden is of extreme importance. And choosing the right plants to attract those bees and butterflies can be tricky. Tuesday, April 26, 2016 starting at 6:30 PM Elma Senior Citizen Center, 3007 Bowen Road, Elma, NY 14059. Register online at www.EMPactNewYork. org

15 West Seneca CERT Drill Self Defense - Horizon Martial Arts July 2 Preparedness Classes & CERT EMPact America of New York 11 Elma CERT meeting August 2 National Night Out Various Towns 6 Tackl’n the Basics: Free Fishing Clinic- Chestnut Ridge Park 11 Elma CERT Meeting

Check websites for the teams news and events.

WEST SENECA John Gullo Emergency Manager (716) 558-3238 MEETINGS - 7:00 PM 3rd Monday of the month Training and meetings are at the West Seneca School’s Ebenezer Building W. S. School Ebenezer Bldg. 900 Mill Road West Seneca, NY 14224 Watch website and Facebook for training and meeting locations. Web: Facebook: West Seneca Cert

ELMA MEETINGS - 7:00 PM 2nd Wednesday of Month Training and meetings are at the Elma Senior Center unless noted. Elma Senior Center 3007 Bowen Road Elma, NY 14059 Web: Facebook: Elma Community Emergency Response Team, Inc.


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2nd qtr 2016 CERT West Seneca  
2nd qtr 2016 CERT West Seneca  

2nd Quarter Western New York Community Emergency Response Newsletter