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County CERT Committee Earns Governor’s Service Group of Year Honor

UCSB emergency preparedness manager Jim Caesar accepts the award

The Santa Barbara County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Committee has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Governor’s Volunteering and Service Award for Service Group of the Year.

Jim Caesar, UCSB emergency preparedness manager and chair of the Santa Barbara County CERT Committee, accepted the governor’s award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

“I am honored to be able to accept this award on behalf of all of us who work hard to make CERT a successful program,” said Caesar, who collaborates with emergency managers and first responders throughout Santa Barbara County to increase community emergency preparedness.

CERT gives residents skills to better respond to emergency events in their communities, equipping them with the ability to utilize the critical period after a disaster and before the arrival of emergency responders.

“It’s for the people we serve,” Caesar said. “CERT is so empowering for them, and that’s what drives this work.”

“Jim’s success is due to his unique combination of skills and charisma,” said Carrie Frandsen, emergency and continuity services manager at UCSB’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, who, with Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortez, works regularly with Caesar to implement emergency preparedness programs for UCSB.

Sean Swale, UCSB sophomore and campus CERT club president, added: “This award is great to bring awareness to the student population to participate in the CERT program.”

Efforts to train the residents of Santa Barbara County in emergency preparedness were renewed shortly after a series of fires devastated Santa Barbara County. In addition to California Volunteers, the CERT programs in Santa Barbara County are supported by the Orfalea Aware & Prepare Initiative, a public-private partnership to strengthen disaster readiness in Santa Barbara County.

CERT, a concept that was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985, educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using the training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

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