The Sebastopol CERT program started in 2005 by a small group of Sebastopol residents coming together to form an Advisory Board. Then Fire Chief, John Zanzi, worked with the Advisory Board to take advantage of the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. On April 18, 2006, there was a display of old photos of damage to Sebastopol from the 1906 quake, a couple tables of earthquake preparedness materials and a sign up sheet for the first Sebastopol Community Emergency Response Team class being offered later in June. Eighteen people attended the first class – 16 from Sebastopol and two people from out of town.
Along with the most recent class just completed in September 2012, the Sebastopol CERT program has trained approximately 300 people. Training within the CERT class has almost exclusively come from Sebastopol Volunteer Fire Fighters or local first responder volunteers. The Sebastopol CERT program has been, and continues to be, the right combination of residents willing to take responsibility for themselves and a fire department and volunteers able and willing to provide exceptional training.
The pivotal piece to the vitality and longevity of the program has been the support offered by our local volunteer Fire Fighters and other first responders, under the direction of the Sebastopol Fire Chief, Bill Braga. (Be sure to say “thanks” to any of them you see!!)
The financial backbone of Sebastopol CERT is the tremendous support shown by sponsors such as Sebastopol Hardware, the two Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, Exchange Bank and Design Orbit. There are also numerous CERT grads that have volunteered their time and energies in taking Advanced CERT Training (ACT) classes and assisting with projects or committee work.