The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is a nationwide effort at preparing individuals and communities to be better prepared in disasters. In some areas, the focus may be more on terrorist threats, and in others, natural hazards such as earthquakes, fire, tornadoes, tsunamis, flooding etc. Los Gatos and Monte Sereno have received funding and CERT has been getting rolled out here. Last night in my area, Belwood (one of 13 CERT communities), there was a meeting about safety generally and CERT in particular, and I believe these meetings are happening or will happen in the various CERT areas.
On July 13, there will be a CERT event at the Los Gatos Civic Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.,for a CERT Fire extinguisher training, unveiling of the new Civic Center Neighborhood Incident Command Post (NICP) and a B.B.Q. All are welcome! You can register for this event on the Eventbrite page.
Learn more about CERT – wonderful video produced by FEMA. The opening segment has to do with the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.
Looking to get trained as a CERT volunteer? You can sign up here for the course, which begins in October.
Los Gatos Fire Department History
Fire was a major danger in Los Gatos in the 1800s. Buildings were made of wood, including sidewalks (think boardwalk), and most appliances – light, heat, cooking – still used an open flame. Fire was a greater, more present danger than local wildlife (cougars and grizzlies). In its early years, the town relied on bucket brigades, finally graduating to two volunteer Hose Companies and a Hook and Ladder Company in around 1886. The Cold Spring Water Company of Los Gatos filed to incorporate in December 1890 with the stated purpose to “introduce water for domestic and fire purposes into the town of Los Gatos.”. In 1888 the town passed an ordinance to provide for the organization of a dedicated Fire Department, and perhaps just in time. A major cartridge fire in July of 1891 leveled many of the town’s businesses, and saw the shift of the business district from the east bank to the west bank of the Los Gatos Creek – and it has remained so to this day.
While many major fires destroyed homes, stores, hotels, and even an opera house, the worst is often said to be the 1901 fire.