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.
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.
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.
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.
President – Paul Bowling
Vice President – Bruce Morgenstern
Secretary – Rick Cooper
Treasurer – Paul Bowling (acting)
CERT Coordinator – Joe Dorffner
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
Search & Rescue – Randy Benninghove
Communications – Randy Sanger
Shelter Operations – Rosy Dorffner
Traffic – Joe Dorffner
Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Direct
Support – Bruce Morgenstern
Bruce Morgenstern then highlighted AAACERT’s 2019
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.
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.
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.
Bruce laid out the following 2020 plans and goals for
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).
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.
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
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.
Paul announced that the AAACERT Ham radio net operates on the third Tuesday of every month at 442.3/107.2.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.