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Saturday Sirens: Don't Worry, It's a Mock Disaster

An earthquake, a chlorine leak and a deadly vapor cloud are part of the scenario for a disaster drill on Saturday, Aug. 20.

That 6.5 earthquake you won't feel Saturday morning is a test. When the Community Alert Notification System (CANS) siren at the corner of East Second and Rose goes off Saturday morning, that will be part of the test. And when you see people in green vests and green hard hats walking around Water's End, it will part of the same test.

Benicia will be conducting on Aug. 20, with numerous agencies will be participating.  Since it will involve two map quadrants where BERT has very few members, the will use the CANS with siren and announcements on 1610 AM and Channel 27 to call for B.E.R.T. team members from all over the city to report to Skillman Park and support the Water’s End B.E.R.T. members in responding to the events.

The drill will be centered in the Waters End neighborhood near Rose and McAllister Drives, with coordination and staging at Skillman Park. The Red Cross will set an evacuation center at Matthew Turner School. BERT members will search for trapped or injured residents and evacuate the injured and assess quake damage in the mock event.

members are citizen volunteers who receive training in survival skills most commonly used in a disaster. The goal of the team is to educate citizens about major disaster preparedness. Using the training, BERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available.

BERT classes are usually held three or four times a year between September and May. Information about classes can be found here.

Rita Martinez August 19, 2011 at 03:59 PM
It would be of great benefit to both Benicia and Vallejo if our two communities could practice an emergency exercise together.
Art August 19, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Rita, To expand on that suggestion, discussions were begun in March to have a multi-city exercise. We learned that all of Solano's CERT teams were interested. We also learned that it would take a great amount of planning. A team was formed and meets regularly working out the challenges encountered to create a safe and authentic drill. The Solano multi-city drill will be conducted on October 15th, which is "Shakeout California" day where tens of thousands of Californians across the state will participate in some sort of Earthquake Preparedness awareness activities. The venue for our exercise will be at the Solano County College Campus. it will be a large scale drill encompassing many agencies, first responders, volunteers and CERT/BERT teams from all Solano cities. Contact your fire department's CERT coordinator or the Benicia FD fire marshal for more information. Art Mayoff, BERT
Rita Martinez August 19, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Arft, Thank you very much for the information. I will contact our CERT coordinator. Rita Martinez
Daniel Cameron Smith August 21, 2011 at 05:30 AM
Very well conducted drill this morning. My more involved fellow members of BERT are to be thanked and appreciated for how much better prepared Benicia is and will be as a result of BERT drills. As a team captain, I found the scenario to be realistic and the staging effectively challenging.

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