CERT Red Cross Shelter Chico

Local Responders Helped Paradise Fire Victims Recover

It’s not every day that you get called upon by the highest level of California emergency response to help with a massive recovery effort in a region you’re not familiar with.

Earlier this year, the San Diego Emergency Response Team (CERT) jumped into action when the California Office of Emergency Service (Cal OES) made a statewide call for all CERTs team to report to Butte County to assist with the Camp Fire recovery. This was the first time in California history that Cal OES issued a call of this magnitude, because of the extreme need for personnel and resources.

The San Diego CERT is sponsored by the San Diego County Fire Authority and managed by CAL FIRE. As a long-time supporter of many local CERTs, we want to extend our appreciation to CERT members who spent time away from family to provide help to those in need. It’s acts of kindness like this that makes our community more resilient.

We also grateful for what the CERTS do throughout the year. The resources, education and tools CERTS provide to local residents help them mitigate wildfire risks and help our communities become more prepared for emergencies.

Sacrificing Time with Family & Friends To Go on Mutual Aid Mission
The Camp Fire was extinguished late last year and has been labeled the nation's deadliest fire after scorching more than 153,000 acres. Once the fire was put out, the clean-up effort began, and the San Diego CERT set off to fulfill its greatest response effort to date.

“There were millions of impacted neighbors to the north of us impacted by what was arguably one of the worst events of their lifetime and they needed our help,” said Teresa Greenhalgh, program manager of the San Diego County Fire Authority CERT.

“One-third of our CERT members deployed over the holidays and spent weeks away from family and friends to assist those in need of shelter, food, help or just a friendly face to talk to.”

Lending A Hand to Those Who Suffered Devastating Losses
Some of the assignments that local CERT members took on included:

  • Working at the Del Oro Small Animal Shelter to assist with pet reunification and creating pet identification for those separated from their owners.
  • Assisted the Chico Red Cross Shelter with surveying, personnel and administrative support, and helped the Disaster Mental Health Team with daily response efforts.
  • Team members were also instrumental in helping the Hope Distribution Center by greeting clients and providing shopping assistance for those visiting the food bank.

The rebuilding efforts in Butte County and many other Northern California Counties continues to at this time. Our hearts go out to those who are struggling to get back on their feet, rebuild their homes, and re-establish a sense of normalcy.