The planning team completed the plan and presented it to volunteers and employees in a three part training and exercise.
- In week 1 Training was conducted on HOW TO RESPOND to At-Risk Seniors. Over 100 dedicated volunteers agreed to respond to the needs of senior citizens in a disaster. The volunteers came from the Council on Aging Senior Team (COAST), the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the (RACES), and the Huntington Beach Amateur Radio Club.
- Next CERT members trained the Senior's Outreach Center employees on how to set up a Command Post using the CERT Command Post plan model written by two local participants.
- A full-scale field exercise was then conducted with all participants. During that event a Command Post was set up at the Senior Outreach Center conference room. Separately, at another center, they created a "disaster area" for the event.
After registering, participants were sent to the Command Post and grouped into three-person Response Teams, which included an Amateur Radio Operator, a CERT person, and a COAST person. These "Teams" were given a scenario and sent to the "disaster area".
There were "victims" and "observers", each of which were later to provide critiques of the event.
The Incident Commander was a talented woman, a former teacher for 12 years, whose goals are to assist older adults in living safely and independently in their own homes. Her 15 years of experience as an Outreach Coordinator include working with Outreach, Meals-to-the-Home, transportation, CHERISH, care management, Telecare, visitation, and counseling.
Why not take this example and determine how to make it work in your area? Mix up a big dish of desire, interest, effort, and a willingness to do an important work; get the help and interest of others, and you've got a training exercise AS WELL as providing for a real need. Who knows, it might lead to something amazing.