Sunday, September 17, 2017

9/16/2017. CERT. What has it morphed into? KISS (Keep it simple &......)



Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) https://fema.ideascale.com

The following campaigns have new activity

  1. "Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs" has 2 new ideas and 2 new comments
  2. "Buying Down Risk with Preparedness and Mitigation" has 1 new ideas and 1 new comments
  3. "Improving FEMA Internal Processes and Human Capital" has 2 new ideas and 3 new comments
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Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs 

Utilization of Volunteers in National Severe Weather Scenarios

This idea is active.
Submitted by on Monday
VOLUNTEER UTILIZATION SERIES
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CAPABILITY VIEWPOINT-15: UTILIZATION OF VOLUNTEERS LIKE CERT IN NATIONAL SEVERE WEATHER SCENARIOS
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PURPOSE: This is part of a series of posts examining various ways volunteers such as CERT have been utilized in the past. The Volunteer Utilization Series posts were preliminarily categorized such that resilience stakeholders with select viewpoints may begin to consider how they could utilize volunteers like CERT as part of an expansion cadre per disaster-category, moving forward. This series is in support of the National Preparedness Goal “Whole Community” approach, and the identified Core Capability “Operational Coordination” which requires communities to establish and maintain a unified and coordinated operational structure and process that appropriately integrates all critical stakeholders and supports the execution of all other core capabilities.
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See this URL for further details:
http://uscsrh.ideascale.com/a/idea-v2/140026
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Additional information will be posted in the comments below...
Comment by n4aof
From your post, I am not quite sure what you mean by CERT. There are already two totally different concepts both using the name CERT, and I get the feeling that your proposal adds yet another concept entirely.

First let's take a moment to look at the two concepts of "CERT"

One is the original CERT concept -- trained individuals within a community who are available to respond in their immediate neighborhood in an emergency when formal responders are not available. This concept originated in California where it worked well.

Then the idea of CERT was picked up by FEMA as essentially a mitigation measure. The idea was still to have cadres of trained volunteers organized in their own local neighborhoods where these trained volunteers would respond within their immediate neighborhood when formal responders were not available. Under the original concept CERT had no other role. Many CERT members were also involved in other organizations, but CERT _as_CERT_ had only one role.

Originally CERTs had typically been organized around local neighborhoods and were managed by the fire house serving that neighborhood. As communities around the country jumped on the CERT bandwagon (encouraged by "free money" from federal grant programs) CERTs tended to lose their neighborhood characteristic and were typically managed by the EMA or other city/county level agency. As the FEMA version of CERT spread across the nation it morphed into a second and completely different concept where CERT members were also regular volunteers for whatever local government agency was tasked with managing the CERT program. This is also when we started to see people citing a "need" for communications training as part of CERT, so the CERT would have radio communications back to the EOC and so on (none of which makes much sense in the original CERT role).

Now it seems that we are looking at yet another entirely different mission under the same name "CERT" -- your proposal seems to be suggesting some EMAC-like arrangement to bring in CERTs from outside a disaster area. If there are CERTs in the disaster area, those CERTs would already be fully committed, so any idea about using more CERTs in a disaster sounds like it is about bringing them in.

I'm not sure exactly what you think these imported CERTs would do. By the time they could arrive, there would be no need for the original CERT mission, so apparently they are just additional manpower but what are they going to do, and perhaps more importantly who is going to organize whatever they are doing? Who is going to provide the logistic support and the management for these imported CERTs? Are they even being imported as CERTs or just as a collection of individual volunteers. In some disasters there are roles that CERT-trained volunteers could perform, but considering the level of CERT Training, those are all roles that better trained teams could perform better and more safely. CERT training is a minimum level Jack-of-all-trades program, but every topic in the CERT program is also a full-fledged discipline where real professionals are available. CERTs are trained in fire suppression, but Fire Fighters do it better. CERTs are trained in First Aid, but EMTs do it better. CERTs are trained in search and rescue, but real SAR teams do it better and there are specialized professionals for Technical Rescue. For everything a CERT member is trained to do, there are professionals trained to do it better. Why would we bring in CERT personnel? If we are going to bring someone in, why not bring in the professionals?

ON THE OTHER HAND, if your idea is that we should be encouraging more communities to have more local CERTs to fill the original CERT concept, I would agree 100% except that I don't see any successful way to accomplish that. FEMA already tried the only tool it really has available (Grant Money) and that had only limited success. Far too many communities used federal grant money to fund the initial CERT training, but they let the program die by being unwilling or unable to spend the few dollars needed to manage the program from then on.

National Skill Reserve Force(NSRF)

This idea is active.
Submitted by on 8th Sep
FEMA please Create a national skill reserve force. Outline of the project is as below:
1. Impart skill training for able bodied men and women nationwide, recruiting veterans retired from military, healthy retirees who want to do seasonal work, unemployed people , college students etc. train them as carpenters, electricians, electronic techs, masons, roofers , plumbers, IT personnels, planners, book keepers, engineers, aux nurses, health workers etc based on their background and aptitude. The duration may be 3 months, 6 months or a year. Train them to work like disciplined para military teams.
2. Create a national register of such trained personnel. Those who are not regularly engaged in their trained trade, should be given refresher training/ work at least for a few weeks every year.
3. Use them ,at places were disaster strikes, on daily, weekly basis for relief work, and for rebuilding.If there are not enough people available at location of disaster, bring people from outside.
4. An example where they could be engaged is to build lakes, Upstream of Houston and underground ducts to drain water from resorvoirs to gulf Costco that we will not be badly affected by future hurricanes.
Comment by islandmrc
This concept may work in a very similar capacity as the Conservation Corps of the 20;s - 30;s providing work experience and community leadership opportunities to underserved populations.
Buying Down Risk with Preparedness and Mitigation 

Utilization of Volunteers for Large Scale Responses

This idea is active.
Submitted by on Monday
VOLUNTEER UTILIZATION SERIES
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CAPABILITY VIEWPOINT-9: UTILIZATION OF VOLUNTEERS SUCH AS CERT AS STATE & LOCAL EXPANSION CADRE OF ESSENTIAL PUBLIC & PRIVATE SERVICES, SEARCH & RESCUE, MEDICAL TREATMENT AND MASS CARE RESPONSES
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PURPOSE: This is part of a series of posts examining various ways volunteers such as CERT have been utilized in the past. The Volunteer Utilization Series posts were preliminarily categorized such that resilience stakeholders with select viewpoints may begin to consider how they could utilize volunteers like CERT as part of an expansion cadre per disaster-category, moving forward. This series is in support of the National Preparedness Goal “Whole Community” approach, and the identified Core Capability “Operational Coordination” which requires communities to establish and maintain a unified and coordinated operational structure and process that appropriately integrates all critical stakeholders and supports the execution of all other core capabilities.
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See this URL for further details:
http://uscsrh.ideascale.com/a/idea-v2/140568
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Additional details will be in the comments below...
Comment by n4aof
I have over four decades as a volunteer with several disaster response organizations but I have to vote against this idea, not because I oppose the use of volunteers but because I have seen the total and utter chaos that UNORGANIZED, UNTRAINED, SPONTANEOUS VOLUNTEERS bring to every disaster.

Organized, trained, volunteers with proper logistics are the lifeblood of disaster response in the US, and in every major disaster we squander a significant number of those organized trained volunteers and quite a bit of their logistic support, trying to sift through the surge of spontaneous volunteers who see the disaster on TV and suddenly decide "I want to help" -- don't get me wrong, many of these spontaneous volunteers actually do perform useful functions but far more of them simply take up more time and resources than they produce.

We do NOT need a program to put more spontaneous volunteers into disaster response - what we need is a program to accomplish two things 1) Recruit and train volunteers into existing disaster response organizations BEFORE disasters strike; and 2) Divert spontaneous volunteers away from ongoing disaster operations.

CERT is an entirely different category. CERT volunteers are at least somewhat trained - and in some places they are organized (in far too many communities, volunteers received CERT training that was paid with federal grants then the program was abandoned as soon as all the free money dried up). CERT volunteers have a role to play in the first minutes or hours of a disaster when formal responders are not available, but once that formal response starts CERT _as_CERT_ has completed its mission. By the very nature of CERT, they are part of the impacted community, most will need to pause and take care of their own families. Any notion of bringing in CERT personnel from outside the effected area is still just bringing in more spontaneous volunteers without adequate organization or support.
Improving FEMA Internal Processes and Human Capital 

Easing the pain of Responder Camps

This idea is active.
Submitted by on Wednesday
PLEASE consider paying a hardship or differential pay for camp lodging.
1. Many FEMA employees consider hotel points and the Per Diem as Fringe benefits of being a responder.
2. I fear going to camps is going to cause a mass exodus of much valued human assets.
3. A $50 incentive will have people volunteering to go to those areas.
Comment by Community Member
If you need creature comforts or incentives, you are not really serious about being a responder. This truly an exceptional incident that requires all of us to make sacrifice to support response and recovery efforts.
Comment by Jim King
I am not talking about living in a 5-star RV. I was in the military for 22 years and I have slept in some really bad places I am just saying that if we could bring our own accommodations it would be a benefit. And where you sleep does not make you a good or bad responder. If the options are there we should be allowed to utilize them.
Comment by n4aof
Hmmm.... The IdeaScale email showed several comments on this idea, but when I arrived here I find it showing "Comments [0]" so apparently someone decided to delete the comments that had previously been posted and approved.

Have we really reached the point where "volunteers" need to be well paid. Only the US federal government could have invented a whole genre of "volunteer" programs with various pay scales -- now apparently there is a problem with the paid employees needing more pay for the job they already signed up for.

Telework while commuting

This idea is active.
Submitted by 20 hours ago
With a laptop and an iPhone with a personal hot spot, it is possible to effectively telework from anywhere. Consider allowing time spent during the daily commute on-line and working to count as work hours (since they are). Frankly, sitting in a bus, a train or a passenger vehicle (as a passenger) is no less hospitable and conducive to work than our current office environment -- in fact, it can be more so (quiet without interruptions.) If not full credit, perhaps 50% credit -- the point is whether or not the employee is working or not, and given the expeditionary nature of our work and workforce, it seems incongruous to say you can't work while commuting. It would be a big boost for morale, especially for long-distance commuters. Perhaps give employees a choice between telework and "commuterwork" as part of the work schedule? (And yes, I am currently commuting 90 minutes each way into DC by MARC, and already log-in and begin work as soon as board the trainji each way.)

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