The 3rd Ojai Valley OK! Drill, held Wednesday 7PM on September 15th, was a big success on many levels.
By 8:05PM, the total counts had been relayed via Ham Radio into the Ojai Police Department -- 40% improvement with a total of 1383 OK! Signs counted. All Neighborhoods showed measurable improvement year-over-year.
Casitas Springs -- 1
Oak View -- 246
Mira Monte -- 478
Meiners Oaks -- 239
Arbolada/Foothill -- 93
West City Ojai -- 127
East City Ojai -- 176
East End -- 2
Upper Ojai -- 21
Over 80 volunteers (made up of CERT, Red Cross and Ham Radio Operators) had completed the drill within the given time of 1 hour - rallying at pre-assigned rendezvous points throughout The Ojai Valley; searching pre-assigned search areas; and following ICS principles of communication by relaying total OK! Sign counts via Ham Radio to the Police Department.
The volunteers enjoyed support and encouragement from many Government/First Responder Officials including: District 1 County Supervisor Bennett and staff, City of Ojai Mayor Olsen, Battalion Chiefs Dorn and Garcia, Fire PIO Nash, Ojai Chief of Police Dunn. Bennett's aides, Cindy Cantle and Council Member Brian Brennan organized an after-event hot-wash discussion where volunteers shared their experiences including offering ideas for improvement. Everyone agreed that the flashing CalTrans Signs and the AM 1610 Radio Announcement were major factors in the drill's success. Supervisor Bennett read a Proclamation from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors acknowledging the team effort and naming September 15th as "Ojai Valley OK Community Drill Day". County OES contributed with releasing Reverse 911 which contacted 15,000 residences alerting people of the drill.
Leading up to the drill, several thousand OK! Signs were printed (by Supervisor Bennett's Office), laminated (funded by Rotary Club Ojai West) and distributed throughout The Ojai Valley (by CERT Volunteers). During the Sunday Ojai Farmer's Market a good percentage of shopper's remembered the prior year's drills and already had their signs at home.
Additional effort was made to reach out to sister organizations throughout the Valley who practiced their OK! Drill and then relayed the results to the Ojai PD. The additional drills were good local practice, demonstrated possibility of a CountyWide event, and proved that distant groups can effectively relay information:
-Camarillo Leisure Village -- 1467 signs counted within 50 minutes
-Santa Paula CERT/Neighborhood Watch -- 192 signs counted (first OK! Drill)
-Ventura Mobile Home Park -- 188 signs counted
-Santa Rosa Valley - Emergency Radio Network (SRV-ERN): Network consists of Amateur, GMRS, FRS, and MURS stations. Tree network, so some operators have radios on more than one service. Not all stations are Amateur Radio Operators. Total Stations = 8 (Amateur = 6; GMRS = 4; FRS = 5).
-Lake Los Angeles Ham Radio Communications -- Proof of concept for comm relay
-Ham Radio Relay between locations in Los Angeles County and Santa Paula - Proof of concept for comm relay
Hovan (KI6BQL) was Ventura CountyWide Net Control Ham Operator who tied all the remote groups together and relayed information to Wayne (W6OEU) in Ojai. Thanks to Wayne (N6WIX), and SMRA, for securing time on the County Repeater from the South Mountain Repeater Association.
We are anticipating next year for our sister groups within Ventura County and neighboring Counties (Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo) to participate during the 2011 OK! Drill.
Big thanks goes out to all the CERT Neighborhood Area Coordinators, NERT Coordinators, Volunteer Search Support and Radio Operators.
We cannot overlook the most important participant in The Ojai Valley OK! Drill -- each and every resident who chose to spend a few minutes:
-Preparing their disaster plan
-Tuning to AM 1610
-Posting their Yellow OK Sign in a location closest to the street
-Checking on their neighbor
Without a sign being posted, we don't have a drill.
Looking forward to the 4th Annual OK! Drill -- 3rd Wednesday in Sept - 9/21/11 at 7PM.
Outcomes and Benefits of OK Drill (It's as easy as 1-2-3-4!)
Outcomes of the OK Drill
- Review their Disaster Plan and check their emergency supplies
- Tune into (if available) their local AM Emergency Radio stations for instructions
- Post their OK sign in a window facing a street or mailbox
Benefits of the OK Drill
- People taking personal responsibility for their own welfare through Planning and Preparation
- Creating Community by participating in an area-wide drill
- Leadership Development through establishing CERT Emergency Response Teams
This simple, yet dynamic, drill provides opportunities to create and enhance teamwork, communications and leadership. Ojai Valley CERT contributes the success of our organization's growth and development to the first Ojai OK Drill held on 9/17/08.
This is how we do it!
- Ojai Valley CERT (Ojai , CA) is inviting all CERT (and volunteer response) groups to join us for a coordinated drill on the third Wednesday of September at 7PM (your local time).
- Create OK Signs - Print OK Signs (on Letter Size, Yellow Paper) with applicable information on reverse side
- Distribute OK Signs - CERT members giving out within their neighborhood; Fire Dept visiting classrooms; Faith-based organizations; Libraries; City Hall; Farmers Markets, etc.
- Create Neighborhood Areas - Based on Volunteer Response Team Jurisdiction, divide city/town into areas (maximum of 9)
- Designate Neighborhood Area Command Post - Each Neighborhood Area has a command post with a Neighborhood Area Coordinator
- Further Divide Neighborhood Areas into NERTs - Based on CERT Volunteer residence and geography, subdivide into smaller areas (Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams)
- Designate Rendezvous Points - Each NERT has a specific rendezvous point with a Coordinator
- NERT Assignment - Assign each CERT member to a NERT
- Assign radio operators (ideally Ham Operator) -- Assign to each Neighborhood Area Coordinator and NERT Coordinator
- Search Areas Planned - Plan ahead search areas for each NERT
- Counting Begins - After teams rally at rendezvous point, count designated search area (Note: You have one hour to complete count)
- Communication of counts - NERT Coordinators Communicate to Neighborhood Area Coordinators
- Neighborhood Area Count - Area Coordinators tally NERT counts and communicate (via radio) to Command Center (Note: You should be complete by 8:30PM)
- Command Center tallies Neighborhood Counts - Command Center adds up totals from all Neighborhood Areas
- Command Center communicates to Ojai Valley CERT - Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with organization, location and total count.
- We look forward to collaborating with you.
- Files & Additional Information - please click on this link