Berkeley CERT training, May 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Would you know what to do when disaster strikes? Photo: Emilie Raguso
Would you know what to do when disaster strikes? Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley’s annual disaster preparedness event is coming up next month with activities to teach residents how to handle kids and pets in an emergency, as well as general skills.

The 2014 event is scheduled for Oct. 18, from 9-11 a.m. It can be customized for any schedule, with exercises that take anywhere from 5 minutes to the whole two hours. It’s a self-directed exercise, which means you can perform the activities in your home or business, or with an organized neighborhood group.

This year, Albany is joining in as part of the community-wide training. Last year, an estimated 2,000 people took part in a range of neighborhood activities in Berkeley.

The city is pushing for participation because, in the event of a large-scale disaster, it will likely take some time for first responders to make their way around the city. In the meantime, having neighborhoods that are organized will allow community members to deal with problems and assess risks sooner.

To aid in that process, the city of Berkeley runs a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program throughout the year “to help us take care of ourselves, and each other, until more help is available. Many individuals and neighborhood preparedness groups plan to take care of themselves for two weeks.”

The annual exercise gives neighbors a chance to practice important skills and work together.

Learn more about the 2014 exercise, including how to sign up.

According to the city, practicing those skills is likely to make neighborhoods safer in the event of a major earthquake or large fire such as the one that struck in the hills in 1991.

“The more you develop ‘muscle memory’ about what to do and how to do it, the easier it will be for you to handle a real emergency,” according to organizers.

Image: City of Berkeley CERT program
Image: City of Berkeley CERT program

Those who are interested can find activity guides on the city website to learn and practice those skills. (The guides cover topics such as child and pet preparedness and safety; damage assessment; emergency communications; and fire safety and suppression.)

If you’re pressed for time, and want to do just one thing to become more prepared, see what your neighbors think is the most critical step to take.

In related news, the Berkeley CERT program received an award from FEMA recently for the work done by volunteers who planned April’s first ever emergency prep fair. Read more about that endeavor in past Berkeleyside coverage.

Learn more about the Oct. 18 preparedness exercise.

Sign up for the exercise online.

Sign up for Berkeley’s city-wide emergency notification system.

Get more tips from the city as far as how to get prepared. UC Berkeley has put together this quick tip sheet. And we can’t forget Alameda County, which unveiled a new disaster preparedness website, with all kinds of resources and information, this month.

Berkeley scientists gave 10-second warning; a wake-up call for emergency preparedness (08.25.14)
Magnitude 6 earthquake rattles Berkeley in early hours (08.24.14)
Are you ready to help kids, pets when disaster strikes? (04.21.14)
Berkeley uses free dumpsters to boost disaster prep zeal (03.07.14)
Berkeley CERT volunteer academy takes off this weekend (08.02.13)
Berkeley unites for earthquake safety (04.29.13)
Join the Berkeley-wide emergency drill April 27 (04.10.13)
Berkeley targets underserved for disaster preparedness (10.04.12)
Gear up for the Big One with help from friends (06.17.10)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...