Hello CERT TEAM and CERT enthusiasts…I hope this blog post finds you safe and hopefully with power. This week’s storm really shook the lower cape and left a wide swath of damage in its wake. I lost power and then lost my generator. Some on the team lost cellular and internet as well, which put us at a pretty big disadvantage when it came to mustering up a team to support our four towns.
However, beyond all the challenges, I have seen Brewster, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich rise up and power through these difficulties and quickly move to bring normalcy back to our communities. With them, BOCH CERT has been on call and deployed in several new roles over the last few days and our team has attempted to be true to our unofficial motto “Semper Gumby”, always super flexible.
BOCH CERT leadership would like to shout out the emergency management folks of the lower cape, especially including the Brewster, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich Fire and Police departments who have worked tirelessly to support their towns and in the process provided our team with many different roles to grow into and help out. People often forget that BOCH CERT is only a few years old, barely assembled when the COVID pandemic hit and has been growing into the communities of the lower cape. Nothing we do to support our four towns has become ‘old hat’; every deployment for us is a new role to grow into. This week’s challenges were another example of that partnership we have with our regional council to get closer to becoming another reliable tool in their emergency response toolbox.
That being said, let’s go over the round-up of deployments during our ongoing emergency response. Over the last three days CERT team members have deployed to support personal care centers and charging stations for three towns: Chatham, Orleans, and Brewster. Check out our Team at Brewster, keeping up resident’s spirits and providing a warm place to pause and recharge! This is a new role for us and we are looking forward to our tentatively scheduled sheltering training coming up in the near future.
BOCH CERT has also supported Chatham in making wellness calls to check in on vulnerable residents who were effected by the storm and subsequent power/communication outages. We are lucky to have a lot of current, former, and retired first responders on our team who, when called up, can fill positions to free up resources. We also deployed as a team to support Chatham Health Department’s second flu vaccine yesterday, which was well attended despite the challenges. Glad to help keep our local communities healthy this winter.
Prior to the storm, a CERT team deployed to Harwich to help support their COVID testing clinic. In the cold rain and wind, our team was out there moving people safely in and out of the drive-thru testing site. This speaks to the dedication our members have to their volunteer work; BOCH CERT is not just a fair weather friend to our four towns, we show up geared up for any weather. Speaking of which, Corey Barker intends on opening up our gear store for winter to help everyone get and stay warm as we start to deploy in cold temps and even snow. Team members should look out for emails and notices on the website.
As the challenges continue due to the aftermath of this latest storm, BOCH CERT will be out there supporting our towns in big and small ways. We hope our efforts have helped many of you out and we encourage you to take advantage of our personal care sites whenever they are available. For those who are still without power, including our team members, we remind you that your communities are here and have many ways of support. If you want to join our efforts, head over to our Join Us page and fill out our new member application. There may be time to register for our in person annual new member training this year.
Thanks again to our partners and our team members for their efforts. Many hands….little work.