The Ranch Club Estates Homeowners' Association in Buellton hosted an open house Oct. 26 to showcase a newly purchased Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trailer and its contents for their 230 homeowners.
The exterior of the trailer displays the professional Community Emergency Response Team logo. The interior was designed and built by residents and is stocked with command post and medical triage supplies, including pop-up shelters.
“We have search and rescue supplies both in the field and in the trailer,” said Shirley Robinson, CERT coordinator for the mobile home park on West Highway 246.
For the past five years, Ranch Club Homeowners have developed their disaster response program. Emphasis on its development has been that it is a voluntary program, personal safety is a priority, and the plan is built on a neighbors helping neighbors concept. Education and training components are scheduled twice a year.
“Because this is a senior park, we recognize that we may be limited in individual physical response but that as a team, we can respond effectively and appropriately in a disaster,” Robinson said.
The park is divided into eight teams, each with between three and six section leaders. Each of the 40 section leaders are outfitted with a fully equipped personal safety CERT backpack and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radio. Of the 40 section leaders, 28 have completed the CERT training program and are CERT certified. Additionally, residents who may not be physically able to be in the field have volunteered to be command post scribes and have completed communication and documentation classes, Robinson said.
In 2012, Ranch Club homeowners hosted a communitywide seven-week CERT training program under the leadership of Tom Walton, Santa Ynez Valley CERT coordinator, that culminated in a communitywide disaster drill at the park.
This program is guided by an active committee of 12 homeowners under the leadership of Robinson and Ben Fitzgerald, HOA president.
“Ranch Club owner and management have provided both conceptual and financial support. Our CERT program continues to be dynamic and a work in progress,” Robinson said.