We are an emergency preparedness volunteer organization focused on creating a ready and resilient community along the San Francisco Bay Area coast from the southern side of the Tom Lantos Tunnel (Devil’s Slide) to Tunitas Creek Road.
Officially, this area is organized into two tactical branches: Branch 1 covers the area from Devil’s Slide to Frenchman’s Creek Road and Branch 2 covers the area from Frenchman’s Creek Road to Tunitas Creek Road.
Coastside CERT is officially registered with FEMA and the State of California with the following details.
- Program: Coastside CERT Branches 1 and 2 (operating jointly)
- Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: Coastside Fire Protection District
- Sponsor Point of Contact: Unit Chief Ian Larkin
- Program Manager and Lead Instructor: Battalion Chief David Cosgrave
- Program Coordinator: Cynthia Sherrill
- Branch 1 Co-Coordinators: Jennifer Goshorn and April Larsen
- Branch 2 Coordinator: Cynthia Sherrill (interim)
In practice, Branches 1 and 2 operate jointly with the program coordinator and branch co-coordinators handling day-to-day responsibilities for both branches as directed by Chief Cosgrave.
Coastside CERT’s current $60,000 budget is entirely based on the California for All category-specific reimbursement grant funding approved in May 2019. Coastside CERT has filed for 501(c)(3) status.
We work to protect our own, our family’s and our neighbors' lives, the environment, and property through emergency preparation, disaster response, emergency first aid and rescue actions, and public education.
Our goal is to create a prepared and resilient community that will have an orderly and calm response to an emergency, disaster or prolonged utilities disruption. Additionally, we connect neighbors so that the community works cohesively and effectively together. Coastside CERT accomplishes these goals with a core leadership team supporting dual synergistic programs:
- Delivering free training for
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- Listos Program
- Coordinating Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness
Our training program ensures that, when officially activated, our CERTs will be the source of reliable, actionable information for first responders and be visible and useful resources for the neighborhoods.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program
CERT is a national program that trains the general public in basic disaster preparedness, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Here on the Coastside, Chief Cosgrave also covers hazards specific to our coastal community.
Coastside CERT provides free 24-hour Basic training program, advanced CERT courses, refresher courses, and special topic presentations. For information on upcoming classes see our Training page.
Listos (www.listos.org) is a state-wide grassroots disaster preparedness program that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of Spanish-speaking communities. Family-oriented and taught in Spanish, the program is delivered in a format that is both culturally and linguistically appropriate for the target population. Listos training dates on the Coastside will be announced later in the year.
Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness
Coastside CERT’s Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness is a local, homegrown grassroots program that relies on community involvement. Neighborhoods are meeting to define their own priorities and organize themselves around three objectives:
- Prepare each residence. This focuses on basic emergency preparation and hazard mitigation.
- Meet your neighbors before a disaster and create an emergency response plan for each block and neighborhood. This includes neighbors helping neighbors, rally points and a communication plan with first responders.
- Implement resilient shelter-in-place resources. This includes, but is not limited to, alternative power sources, water purification, telecom microgrids.
We encourage all levels of participation:
- Don’t have any spare time? Prepare yourself with:
- Water — 1 gallon per day per person (don’t forget your pets!)
- Food — items that don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked (don’t forget your pets!)
- First aid kit — including prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Can check on your immediate neighbors? Coordinate with your Block Captain.
- Can help disseminate information to your block? Volunteer to be a Block Captain.
- Can facilitate meetings in your neighborhood and liaise with Coastside CERT and other neighborhoods? Volunteer to be a Neighborhood Lead.
We can’t do everything at once, but we can make progress towards resilience in small, coordinated steps, emphasizing common sense communications, cooperation, resource management, and risk mitigation.
As of January 1, 2020 our neighborhood overview is:
- 32 neighborhoods
- 1,168 in the database
- 211 CERTs
- 100 Hams
- 117 Leads and 43 Support
Why is Emergency Preparedness Important?
While we are part of the larger Bay Area, we only have two, mostly two-lane roadways leading in and out, which greatly increases our chances of complete isolation in a regional disaster. We are subject to: earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, mudslides, road washouts, treefalls, bridge destabilization, tunnel closures, and utility and telecommunications disruptions.
Local Sister CERT Organizations
Coastside CERT fits into a larger regional network of adjoining CERT organizations:
Program: Branch 3 (South Coast CERT)
- Area: Covers south of Tunitas Creek, including San Gregorio, Pescadero, La Honda, and Loma Mar.
- Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: La Honda Volunteer Fire Brigade
- Program Manager: Battalion Chief Ari Delay, Coordinator: Robert (Bob) Smith
Program: Branch 4 (South Skyline CERT)
- Area: Runs above Branch 3 south along Hwy 35 to the Santa Cruz County Line.
- Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: Santa Cruz Cal Fire
- Program Manager: Battalion Chief Ari Delay, Coordinator: Peggy Wargo
Program: Kings Mountain CERT (New)
- Area: Kings Mountain CERT territory runs east along Hwy 35 above Woodside.
Other Local Volunteer Organizations
CERT is only one of many local volunteer programs making a difference in our community. The Coastside Emergency Corps (CEC) is the umbrella organization tasked with coordinating between government agencies and local volunteer groups like CERT, Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) through the Half Moon Bay Amateur Radio Club (HMBARC), Large Animal Evacuation Group (LAEG), Red Cross Shelter Operations Committee, Peninsula Humane Society, Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART), and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).