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Evan Kushner

Michael Catalano

Judith Cohen, RN, teaches a class for CERT members.

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CERT meeting prior to Hurricane Dorian.

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Helmets and fire extinguishers ready for deployment.

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Judith Cohen, RN, teaches a class for CERT members.

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It sounds like something out of a thriller script: 

"As the country fights to contain a deadly virus, a hurricane rakes the East Coast, knocking out power, disrupting already tenuous supply chains, displacing residents and further threatening millions of lives.  But as coronavirus continues to spread at a time when climate change has increased the destructive potential of a host of natural disasters, the scenario could become a frightening reality -- one that officials and experts say we need to be prepared for. Even in normal times, natural disasters require a small army of government staff, first responders, relief organizations, and volunteers to move people out of harm's way and provide victims with basic necessities like shelter, food, and medicine.” (quoted from CNN article:



As we are approaching the beginning of the 2020 Hurricane season, your Rainberry Bay CERT team is preparing.  This year our preparation must go where no one has gone before.  Not only do we face the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of a disaster with limited resources and members, we now have to factor in the COVID-19 epidemic. 


This season will see a larger number of residents here, as many snowbirds have not as yet or will not be traveling back north due to the pandemic.  


In past years part of the clubhouse remained open for residents to come if they lost power.  Due to the pandemic this year, once CERT sets up our Incident Command Post and Triage Area, the entire clubhouse will be off-limits.  This measure is needed to ensure the risk of contamination and/or cross-contamination be held to a minimum.  As it is, CERT is not and has not been trained or prepared to deal with the pandemic. If people are allowed to come and go the chances of contamination will rise exponentially and it will put all the volunteers in danger, forcing the closing of the triage area, staging area, and Command Center.


Yes, these are troubling times, and some extreme measures are being considered and revamped in order to deal with a disaster.  Your CERT team cannot and will not put ourselves in danger if security measures put in place are broken. We just don’t have enough volunteers to cover this entire community.


We are fortunate in Rainberry Bay to have retired nurses and retired first responders as part of our team, all of whom are willing to run toward the impending disaster.  We count on you, our Rainberry Bay family, to support us by not placing us in further danger and think about the safety of others.