The community volunteers that take action during emergencies were honored last week at an annual event held by the Newport Beach Fire Department.
The efforts of Community Emergency Response Team volunteers were recognized by the NBFD during the Fifth Annual State of the CERT dinner and awards banquet on Friday. About 140 volunteers attended the event.
The awards were handed out to: Jan Burns for Newport Beach Fire Department CERT Volunteer of the Year; Paramedics Bryan Carter and Chris Fanti for the Kevin Pryor Memorial CERT Instructor of the Year; Lido Isle Home Owner’s Association, lead by Gail Reisman for Newport Beach Fire Department CERT Neighborhood of the Year; and Marilyn Broughton and Evalie DuMars for the Newport Beach Fire Department Spirit of CERT Award.
Keynote speaker was fellow Newport Beach CERT volunteer, geologist Dr. Roy Shlemon, who discussed the earthquake threat to Newport Beach, specific faults that are nearby, and what residents can do to prepare.
The state of the Newport Beach CERT program was also discussed, including 2012 accomplishments and goals for 2013.
The highlight for 2012 was the Newport Beach CERT program being awarded with the prestigious FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award for Outstanding CERT Program Initiatives and for receiving an honorable mention for Volunteer Integration.
“I think we were recognized because we have a really unique approach, in terms of organizing all of our 156 homeowners associations and we have a very high CERT volunteer to resident ratio,” with a resident population of about 88,000 and over 1,000 volunteers, Matt Brisbois, Community Preparedness Coordinator for the Newport Beach Fire Department, explained previously.
Newport Beach was chosen for the award out of 3,800 other registered CERT programs across the nation. The city is the first in California to ever earn the recognition.
“It’s quite an honor,” Jan Burns, CERT volunteer and member of the board of directors, said late last year at the CERT Drill the Skills 2012 event.
“The training [at the Newport Beach CERT program] goes above and beyond,” she added.
The CERT program trains community volunteers to be able to help themselves, their families and their neighborhoods during a disaster. The program is a Department of Homeland Security Citizen Corps training program.
In 2012, Newport Beach CERT volunteers worked over 11,074 hours.
The next training class for interested community members begins near the end of February and runs through spring. There are two class schedules available: Tuesday/Thursday evenings or all-day on Saturdays.
For more information, visit nbcert.org or call (949) 644-3112.