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We have been BUSY!!!

Happy Autumn to you all!

BOCH CERT has been as busy as we’ve ever been in the month of October! Brewster, Chatham, and Harwich all are holding flu shot clinics this month, so if you’re looking for an easy way to stay healthy this winter, check your local towns for their clinic dates and come out and say “Hi!” to our crews expertly navigating you through the process.

We’ve also had town meetings! Pumpkin displays built! Trainings! Not to mention the 19 new members we’ve onboarded during our Fall Member Recruitment drive. We are growing in size and skill as well as growing into the communities we serve and uncovering new ways in which to help out. I have had more than one local drive past me and yell “CERT?!?! You guys are everywhere!” and they’re right. We are!

So let’s get to the round-up! A few weeks back we participated in Chatham’s Pumpkin People in The Park. Several members of the team came together for a few days and built an amazing display entitled “Safe Ghost Crossing” adorned with Pumpkin CERT members, busy ghosts, witches, and even an invisible man! Everything we used was upcycled, recycled, or re-useable except the pumpkins and our decorative signs and our display will be up in the park until October 30th, so go take a peek and enjoy the fall leaves.

Thanks to Brewster, Harwich, and Chatham for inviting us in to help with their town flu clinics! We’ve seen nearly 300 of our Lower Cape neighbors drive past us during these events and we’re always so happy when you all give us the ‘thumbs up’ and ‘hi-fives’ as we point you in the right direction. Volunteering is all about the paycheck, and we get paid in the smiles of the people we help. So keep that coming!

BOCH CERT has also facilitated several town meetings this month, guiding the residents of the Lower Cape to their seats, cleaning microphones for Covid safety, and generally supporting the direct democracy enthusiasm of our neighbors and friends. One of the best things about volunteering for CERT is the opportunity to meet people from all over the four towns and be informed about what is happening. To know the Lower Cape towns is to truly love them, and at BOCH CERT we really do love this place we call home.

BIG BIG Shout out to Harwich Police Department and especially Officer Mark Holmes who came out on Wednesday to teach about 25 CERT members about the science and art of traffic flow and safety. Our group had dozens of questions and comments for Officer Holmes and he had an answer for every one of them! Most importantly we learned how to make ourselves visible to drivers, using the big arm waves to get everyone moving in the right direction, never putting our back to moving traffic, and always looking around for potential hazards. We also learned the most important fact about traffic safety: Human Error. A vast majority of crashes happen because of driver’s errors, not road conditions or bad engineering, so to be safe everyone in the community needs to pay attention and make good driving decisions. We hope you all consider that when you enter our parking lots and see us directing traffic.

Coming up, more flu clinics, more town meetings, and October 30th’s NEW MEMBER TRAINING DAY, where we gather up all our new recruits and put them through the paces to get them trained and certified as a full fledged member. There’s still time to join BOCH CERT! Submit your application online from our JOIN US tab and let us get you up to speed so you can participate on Oct. 30th! If you’re on the fence, now is the time to jump off and get on board!

Next month we have Point of Distribution training, a training on some new technological gear we picked up, Safety Officer training certification, and anything else Brewster, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich needs us to do for them! Have an excellent rest of October and see you in the start of November.

It’s not over…but we see the finish line.

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.

BOCH CERT is on ALERT Status

October 27th, 2021– Currently the BOCH CERT team has been put on ALERT Status. As you can see below from our recent trainings on this, we should be moving to secure our homes, notifying CBarker@boch-cert.org that you are available to deploy, putting your gear together, charging your devices, and awaiting further notifications. At this point, you should be ready to Activate in under 3 hours if called.

As of 10:15am this morning, we have no requests from any of our four towns, however leadership anticipates probable deployment in the storm’s aftermath.

Team Members will continue to be notified throughout the day on any status changes or deployments via email and this website. Continue to monitor your communication avenues.

Appropriate gear to consider: Rain coats and weather appropriate clothing, high visibility vests and hats, deploy pro app installed on your phone, first aid kit, hard hat, and tools. Additional gear requests will be provided at specific deployments.

Thank you and everyone stay safe.