As California continues to get walloped with rain, we’ve heard many harrowing stories from our grower/shipper customers about the various ways the recent series of storms has impacted their operations and their employees. Those of us in agriculture are no strangers to adversity, but this latest round of nasty weather has been particularly damaging. As always, the industry bounces back, but not without a high cost in terms of damage and lost production.
The magnitude of the damage caught many off guard. Unfortunately, there have been times during these past few weeks when the sheer volume of incidents has pushed the limits of our emergency responders. When stretched thin, and response times elongated, these agencies may deploy local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to assist. Communities and business organizations establish CERTs to provide trained and certified volunteers who can help in a disaster situation.
Communities and organizations that adopt the CERT program are in a much better position to deal with the unexpected. CERT trains its volunteers to think about what to do when help isn’t on the way. The training teaches everyday citizens how to provide aid safely and competently to the community when disaster strikes.
I recently participated in a county-wide exercise to simulate a “grid-down” situation. Instead of using traditional means of communication, my fellow CERT members and I used 2-way radios to relay messages up and down the county. Luckily, these recent storms didn’t take the communication grid down, but losing communication is always a risk. That’s why CERT emphasizes the importance of having a backup plan.
In the wake of this weather disaster, many organizations and communities will be looking at their emergency procedures: what worked and what didn’t. I would encourage you to look at CERT as one way to improve resilience and provide adequate support when the next emergency strikes.
Dave Hood is co-leader of La Selva Beach CERT near Watsonville, CA.
Dave is responsible for leading and directing the business development strategy at Procurant. In addition to driving Procurant’s customer-centric sales process, Dave is also responsible for managing strategic partnerships with providers of software and hardware that will integrate with the Procurant Platform.