News and Alerts

Informational articles, links, and stories.

Congrats, CERT Basic Class of March 2021!

 

Congratulations to the March 2021 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic training class. The class underwent its training and final exercise at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy in Millersville, MD. This training group had the extra challenge of having almost half the normal number of participants. As a result of their smaller size, during the simulation, search teams had to do double duty both looking for and treating victims. The class overcame this challenge, found all victims, and treated them accordingly.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, class sizes are limited and fill fast. Interested? Please visit www.aaacert.org.

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.

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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

 

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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.

 

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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

TWO SEATS TO FILL!

CERT Basic Class Starts Soon

We only have two seats left for the upcoming March and April classes and we need to fill them. Do you know someone who might be interested in CERT Basic class? Send them this post and encourage them to sign up.

While we would love for you to join our CERT organization after training, it is not a requirement for this class. The only requirement, besides the FEMA class, is an interest in knowing what to do in an emergency. Who doesn’t want to have that knowledge?

Click Here To Sign Up Now

Click Here For More Information On Training

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

Tick Tock…Tick Tock, Time is Counting Down

We have only 1 slot available for our upcoming EARLY SPRING CERT BASIC CLASS. Sign up now at the link below.

As for the LATE SPRING CERT BASIC CLASS, there are only a couple of slots open for that.

We do not expect these to remain open long, so click that link and sign up quickly.

Our CERT Basic classes in March and April are now open. Due to COVID-19 precautions, space is very limited so sign up quickly. The Basic CERT class is approximately 24 hours of instruction in basic disaster skills over 4 days.

CERT Basic Training is designed to prepare you to help yourself and to help others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Because emergency services personnel will not be able to help everyone immediately, you can make a difference by using your CERT training to save lives and protect property. This training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice, and by working as a team, you will be able to protect yourself and do the greatest good for the greatest number after a disaster. Medical or EMT experience is not required.

For dates and times including a link to sign up, please visit the training page on our website at www.aaacert.org/cert-basic-training

PRE-REQUISITES:
Two, online, FEMA Emergency Management Institute courses must be successfully completed prior to the start of CERT Basic training. These courses are free (note:  you will be required to get a Student ID (SID) which also is free). The courses are listed as 3 hours each in duration but, on the average, students complete them in a little more than half that time. Details can be found at the link above.

We look forward to having you!

Be Prepared. Have a Plan.

CERT Basic Classes NOW OPEN

Our CERT Basic classes in March and April are now open. Due to COVID-19 precautions, space is very limited so sign up quickly. The Basic CERT class is approximately 24 hours of instruction in basic disaster skills over 4 days.

CERT Basic Training is designed to prepare you to help yourself and to help others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Because emergency services personnel will not be able to help everyone immediately, you can make a difference by using your CERT training to save lives and protect property. This training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice, and by working as a team, you will be able to protect yourself and do the greatest good for the greatest number after a disaster. Medical or EMT experience is not required.

For dates and times including a link to sign up, please visit the training page on our website at www.aaacert.org/cert-basic-training

PRE-REQUISITES:
Two, online, FEMA Emergency Management Institute courses must be successfully completed prior to the start of CERT Basic training. These courses are free (note:  you will be required to get a Student ID (SID) which also is free). The courses are listed as 3 hours each in duration but, on the average, students complete them in a little more than half that time. Details can be found at the link above.

We look forward to having you!

Be Prepared. Have a Plan.

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.

Congrats, CERT Basic Class of November 2020!

Congratulations to the November 2020 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic training class. The class underwent its training and final exercise at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy in Millersville, MD. This training group had the extra challenge of having almost half the normal number of participants. As a result of their smaller size, during the simulation, search teams had to do double duty both looking for and treating victims. The class overcame this challenge, found all victims, and treated them accordingly.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, class sizes are limited and fill fast. Interested? Please visit www.aaacert.org.

New CERT Basic Training Class Completes Instruction

Simulation exercise participants including graduating members, volunteer proctors, volunteer survivors, and an Anne Arundel County Police Officer following the final simulation exercise.

Congratulations to the October 2020 Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. The class underwent its training and final exercise in October 2020 at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy in Millersville, Md. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, class sizes are limited and fill fast. Interested? Please visit www.aaacert.org.

AAACERT Volunteers Contribute 625 Hours to Coronavirus Pandemic Response

Twenty-five Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) members have contributed more than 625 hours of volunteer service to the county and to the City of Annapolis, supporting the response to COVID-19 in the past month. April is National Volunteer Month, a time to celebrate the work that volunteers do year-round.

AAACERT President Bruce Morgenstern said:

“I couldn’t be prouder of our volunteers for stepping up. We have shown our value to the community, and AAACERT volunteers are in demand — with recent requests to support food distribution in Annapolis (where we assist with social distancing and safety) and Brooklyn Park (where we assist with traffic management); to provide warehouse labor at the Anne Arundel County Food Bank in Crownsville; and our standing activities in support of a local shelter and assisting with traffic management at the Anne Arundel County Donations Management Center in Odenton. Plus, we remain on standby as emergency call takers at the county Emergency Operations Center.”

For each activity AAACERT supports, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available. AAACERT works closely with each sponsoring agency or organization to ensure that volunteers’ responsibilities are appropriate, safe, and well thought-out.

“While we perhaps are nearing or at the top of the curve for this crisis, the needs generated by it will last for some time,” Morgenstern continued, “and the expectation is high that we will continue to be called upon to serve our community.”

“We encourage CERT members to contact CERT Coordinator Joe Dorffner, who has done an outstanding job coordinating all of these activities, to let him know your availability,” said Morgenstern.

According to FEMA, the nationwide CERT program “educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.”

AAACERT is a registered non-profit organization that trains volunteers in disaster response skills and emergency preparedness. AAACERT volunteers assist others in our community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. When activated under the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, or the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management, AAACERT supports emergency response agencies.