A total of seventeen City of Saratoga CERT members participated in the recent Saturday, 21 January 2023 Santa Clara Countywide CERT Skills Day held at the City of Cupertino’s Quinlan Community Center. Participants included: Löve Hörnquist Åstrand, Candace Brooks, William Brooks, Benedict Chua, Rebecca Feng, Jack Griswold, Tina Hubbard, Kevin Marques, Peter Melhus, Davina Morgan-Witts, Charles Rader (event staff), Susan Schwaderer, Diana Steps, Steve Steps, Rose Tsai, Steven Wong, and Lorna Yamaguchi. This was the first Countywide CERT Skills Day held since spring 2018 (i.e., prior to the COVID pandemic) and was well attended by CERT organizations from throughout Santa Clara Valley, with the total number of CERT participants numbering about 200.

Event participants practiced “hands-on” skills in the following four areas: Incident Command System (ICS) organization, planning and execution; field post-disaster Medical Operations, including triage and field treatment of injuries; light search & rescue techniques and procedures; and field neighborhood assessment radio communications protocols and procedures. Each of the rotational skills areas had approximately one-hour of instruction and hands-on execution of the learned skills.

Feedback to the event was universally positive, with most attendees saying it was an excellent means of “clearing the cobwebs” after three years of COVID severely impacting CERT in-person, hands-on skills training. As the COVID crisis seemingly is easing, it is the hope of CERT leadership in Santa Clara County to get Countywide CERT Skills Days back on an annual schedule.