What can you say about an organization that spends hours and hours preparing for an event they hope will never happen? That would have to describe the Metro CERT, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District's Community Emergency Response Team.
Who is CERT?
They are your neighbors, your family and your friends - ordinary citizens - who have donated their time to educate themselves on what to do in case of extraordinary emergencies.
This training is nothing to sneeze at: it consists of 24 hours of lecture and hands-on skill training to assist in preparing citizens to take care of themselves, their family, and if they choose, their neighborhood, during a catastrophic event.
And what do they get once their complete their training? A chance for more training - including such exotic-sounding things as Wildland Urban Interface, Flood and Swiftwater Awareness and Hazardous Materials First Response.
Metro CERT Volunteers, wearing their brilliant green vests, are the invaluable affiliated volunteer arm of Metro Fire and have served in numerous capacities staffing the Sacramento County Emergency Operation Center and Sacramento County Sand Bag Stations. The volunteer along the American River during Operation River Safe, and help install smoke detectors and batteries.
They are a fixture at all of our Cordova Community Council events, providing Stand-by First Aid and using every opportunity to spread the word about the importance of disaster preparedness - just in case.
Last fall, CERT lavished some special attention on Rancho Cordova organizing a special event known as the "Great California Shakeout."
In partnership with the Cordova Community Council and City of Rancho Cordova, CERT members procured and prepared 500 disaster kits for distribution.
Coordinating with the statewide observance of the importance of earthquake preparedness, CERT members manned the parking lot at Rancho Cordova City Hall and distributed the kits to residents and visitors alike. Beginning at the early hour of 7 a.m., the reach of CERT became evident when the kits were snapped up within less than two hours.
It is one thing to drill and prepare for an event that is on everybody's calendar. But the amazing thing about CERT's efforts is that not only do they not know when their services may be needed, they actually hope that the day never arrives.
The Cordova Community Council prides itself in being "an organization of organizations," so any award that goes to a group has special meaning.
In conferring the award of "Distinguished Community Organization," we are recognizing that your dedication, preparation and selflessness marks Metro CERT as an organization that goes above and beyond the rest.
Thank you for focus on excellence, safety and volunteerism.
And here's hoping it all comes to absolutely nothing at all.