gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 52

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” —Benjamin Franklin Written By Robin Shepherd S eptember is National Preparedness Month. First responders want you to know that in the event of a large-scale emergency or disaster, it could be days before they get to your neighborhood. Until then, you, your family and your neighbors are on your own. Are you prepared for the next quake, flood, or wildfire? If not, take heart. South County offers a wealth of resources to help boost your preparedness whether you’re at home or the office or in your car when disaster strikes. These resources are designed to help you: create an emergency plan, stock up on emergency provisions, and learn basic steps to safeguard loved ones and help neighbors in an emergency. The road to preparedness doesn’t have to be complicated or costly and you don’t have to be a survivalist or a superhero to make the journey. But you can’t do it alone. It takes a community. Sign Up for CERT Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training continues to be a popular program in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. CERT training provides basic education on disaster prepared- ness and response skills related to fire safety, light search and rescue, emergency medical operations, as well as community response team organization and disaster psychology. 52 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN It’s hard to overstate the value of this program. It is certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and reflects several decades of knowledge gained in coordinated responses to a range of disasters that impact our region. Each of the program’s nine units are led by trained CERT volunteers and other subject matter experts. The program is free to the South Santa Clara County community. Jennifer Ponce is the Coordinator for Morgan Hill’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), which oversees the CERT and Ham Radio volunteer programs. she has been with the City for nine years. She is currently the President of the Emergency Managers Association. She also serves with the Morgan Hill City Manager as a member of the Santa Clara County Operational Area Council. Other roles include participa- tion on the Santa Clara County Hospital Preparedness Coalition, Jennifer Ponce the California Emergency Coordinator, Morgan Hill Services Association, and the Emergency Services International Association of SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017