Wednesday 19 July 2017 and Thursday 20 July 2017
CodeRED Wednesday call-out at 1602 for large grass fire off FM 967. Ken Tolces and Joshua Bazar arrived on-scene at 1645; at 1800 Gary Callon brought the Wimberley Rehab Trailer in and was joined by Rachel Maldonado, Jim Gardner, and Debbi Cooke; Linda Rivera checked in at 1930. The planned “controlled” burn had grown out of control and was designated the Onion Creek Fire. Several area fire departments responded, including Austin Police Department’s helicopter and Austin-Travis County EMS STARFlight for water drops; the Texas A&M Forest Service sent a bulldozer and a crew of three from Smithville. At ~ 2200 it appeared that the fire was contained and CERT was released; Gary buttoned up the trailer and returned it to Wimberley at 2300.
Fast forward to Thursday morning with several CERT members attending a POD table-top exercise at the main fire station in Kyle: Kharley Smith was also there and a little after 1030 suggested to the instructors that the exercise be cut short because CERT was about to get a CodeRED call-out for a resurgent Onion Creek Fire. That call-out came in at 1044. George Conwill hooked up the Kyle Rehab Trailer and arrived on-scene at 1130 joined by Gordon DeWitte and Diana Welsch. Gary Callon, Patrick Hyde, Debra Hyde, Betsy Koeter, Jim Gardner, and Eric Gordon all arrived between 1200 and 1221. With plenty of help on-hand and the fire getting under control, CERT members began checking out between 1300—1430. Jim, Pat, and George stayed around to wrap things up; George and Pat returned the trailer to Kyle at 2200.
Collage of CERT Response During Two Days at Onion Creek Fire
Sunday 25 June 2017
CodeRED call-out at 1350 for a brush fire in Wimberley. Gary Callon was first on-scene, followed by Rick Van Hoozer with the Wimberley Rehab Trailer, and Diana Welsch. Wimberley, South Hays, and North Hays fire departments worked to control the fire that eventually grew to ~ 100 acres before being contained. CERT was released at ~ 1800 and all members had left the scene by 1830.
Sunday 18 June 2017
It was a busy Fathers Day for CERT members. There was a CodeRED call-out at 1810 for a structure fire in Wimberley. Gary Callon brought the Wimberley Rehab Trailer to the scene at 1845 and was joined immediately by Jim Gardner. Diana Welsch, George Conwill, Joshua Bazar, Eric Flint, and Gayle Merkord soon followed and were all on-scene by 1940. Local firefighters quickly brought the fire under control, and CERT members began to be released at 2005, with the last one leaving the scene at 2100.
Before members could relax, there was a second CodeRED call-out at 2254 for SAR assistance in the Highpointe Subdivision near Dripping Springs. Rachel Maldonado, Ken Tolces, Betsy Koeter, Tal Angelosante, Joshua Bazar, Diana Welsch, and Steve Meyer all arrived to help. At 0300 Monday morning, the Sheriff’s Dept. took over all SAR duties and released CERT. The missing person was finally located at 0525.
Saturday 3 June 2017
Another reasonably busy Market Days for the CERT support volunteers at the First Aid Station. Things got off to an early, but fortunately easy, start when an elderly gentleman came in with a cut on his left arm and was given a band-aid. The next patient presented a more serious case: an elderly woman, on medications for heart and BP, had fallen and hit her head. She was pale and had a thready pulse, but had not lost consciousness and did not have a headache. The team advised her to go home, rest, hydrate, and call 911 if she started to feel worse. They used a wheelchair to move her to her car at the front entrance. Two sting victims were next, and the team treated both by applying sting swabs. The first patient returned for a new band-aid. The last patient was an elderly woman feeling very hot and exhibiting symptoms of heat exhaustion; had history of heat exhaustion nine years ago. The team brought her to the First Aid Room via wheelchair, gave her water, and applied ice while she relaxed on the gurney; she drank two bottles of water, given a third for the trip home, and was transported to her bus at Gate 2 via wheelchair; advised to have bus driver pull over and call 911 if she started to feel worse.
Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Juan Castillo, Francesca Agobe, David Sharp, Eric Ma, and Luke Johnson manned the First Aid Station and provided EMS support.
Tuesday 30 May 2017
CodeRED call-out @ 0317 for rehab at structure fire in Wimberley Square. Gary Callon brought the Wimberley Rehab Trailer and was soon joined by Ken Tolces, Betsy Koeter, Jim Gardner, Gayle Merkord, Rick Van Hoozer, and Diana Welsch (Ken, Betsy, Jim, Rick, and Diana are all new CERT members from our recent class). They provided water, Gatorade, and snacks to the five fire departments (Wimberley, South Hays, San Marcos, Kyle, and North Hays) responding. Over 35 firefighters were there and the fire was contained around 0430. The IC released CERT @ 1100.
Saturday 20 May 2017
The latest CERT class completed their classroom training and gathered outdoors on a windy rainy weekend for their practical exercise. With help from current CERT and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members, the class participants successfully demonstrated the skills they learned. Welcome to all the new CERT people!
Saturday 6 May 2017
May’s Market Days was a fairly busy one for the Wimberley EMS and our support team. Just before lunch a young man came in with a severe headache (“9″ on a scale of 1—10); no history of medical problems; advised patient to go to ER for evaluation. Just after lunch a woman came in and reported a bee or wasp sting; ~ 4” area of redness; had had allergic reaction to stings before, but did not carry an EpiPen (recommended that she see her Dr. for one); treated area with Benadryl gel. The third patient was a older woman requesting a blood pressure check; she had been in the ER Friday night with high BP and was frequently checking it; she had taken her BP medication in the morning and had eaten; BP was 120/80; advised to hydrate. The fourth patient was an older man who had vomited and said that had never happened before; was taking BP and heart medications; initial BP was high and second reading was higher; advised to go home to a calmer atmosphere and take BP; if still high, go to ER; called his wife and she took him home. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Francesca Agobe, David Sharp, and Eric Ma were there to man the First Aid Station and provide EMS support.
Friday 21 April 2017
CERT assisted with the setup of the Hays County Emergency Services Trailer in Dripping Springs (just off Mercer St. on Old Fitzhugh Rd.) where it will be used as a central location for first responders during the 2017 Dripping Springs Founders Day Festival.
Saturday 1 April 2017
April’s Market Days was winding down and nearing the afternoon close when a woman arrived with an allergic reaction to fire ant bites. She had broken out with hives on her upper body, arms, legs, and feet; no breathing problems and only known allergy was to penicillin. The CERT EMS support team cleaned the affected areas with a mild bleach solution; the patient quickly felt better and the swelling reduced. The team advised the patient to followup with her doctor about the issue and see about getting an EpiPen. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Eric Ma, Omar Ordoñez, Taylor Hanley, and Tiffany Kenemore manned the First Aid station throughout the day.
Saturday 4 March 2017
The first Market Days of 2017 was not unlike the last Market Days of 2016 with rainy weather and no patients for the CERT EMS support team. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Eric Ma, Kayla Simmons, Chrystal Hill-Lavizzio, Rachel White, Callie Crawford, and Kayla Gregory were fully prepared to act, but no one required their help. They shut down the station @ 1500.
Thursday 5 January 2017
CodeRED call-out @ 1705 for rehab on an extended law enforcement operation in Kyle. Paul Elliott and Gary Callon headed out, with Gary planning to pick up the Kyle Rehab Trailer on the way. Not deterred by the cold and windy weather, our intrepid volunteers were a bit delayed by less-than-accurate GPS directions and arrived on-scene only to be faced with a balky generator. Despite all the impediments, Paul and Gary managed to provide welcome hot coffee and snacks to the first responders. The IC released CERT at 2100.
Saturday 3 December 2016
The last Market Days of 2016 brought cold, rainy weather, low attendance, and no patients for the CERT EMS support members. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Haley Glenn, Stefany Romo, Karah Beavers, Kyle Gerdes, and Yasmin Baqdounes were ready, willing, and able, but no one needed First Aid. Attendance was so light and things were so slow that the volunteers called it a day and shut things down @ 1400.
Tuesday 29 November 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 0507 for a structure fire off Nutty Brown Rd, ~ 5 minutes from my house per Google Maps. I grabbed my CERT gear and headed out with snacks, water, Gatorade, and ice. Arrived on-scene ~ 0530, and checked in with the North Hays County Fire & Rescue IC who said fire was under control, and they only needed water, Gatorade, snacks, and ice. I left my stock of supplies, sent out a CodeRED status update to CERT members @ 0557, and was back home by 0610.
Monday 28 November 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1415; Wildland Task Force had been activated for large outside fire. Tom Conley brought the rehab trailer from Kyle, and Byron Turner and Gary Callon were on-scene to help. Fire departments from Buda, San Marcos, South Hays, North Hays, Wimberley, and Chisholm Trail were all on-scene. The surrounding areas were being evacuated. Quick work by all the fire crews got the fire ~ 85% contained by approximately 1530. The Command Center released CERT around 1830.
Aerial Shot of fire (also published on several Facebook sites, but it’s such a neat picture that I couldn’t resist adding it here)
Saturday 5 November 2016
Bees 3, Humans 0. Rainy day for November’s Market Days kept the attendance low, but did not keep the bees away. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Eric Ma, Omar Ordoñez, Baley Helton, and Francesca Agobe treated three people for stings; fortunately no one was allergic or exhibited any symptoms, so sting relief was applied and patients were told to take appropriate pain medications at home if needed. The team also treated an older gentleman for an elbow laceration resulting from a fall in the parking lot; they cleaned his wound and bandaged it.
Wednesday 2 November 2016
Nine (or more; I did not get an exact count or everyone’s name) CERT members and many other volunteers showed up to help in the full scale drive-through exercise of the Hays County Open Point of Dispensing (POD) this morning in one of Lehman High School’s parking lots. It was a cloudy day with occasional rain drops, but everyone enthusiastically participated in a variety of roles to test all aspects of Hays County’s Open POD model utilizing its Closed POD partners.
Sunday 2 October 2016
Possibly a new record for the shortest call-out. CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1207 for a structure fire off Nutty Brown Rd, only a few minutes from my house. I grabbed my CERT gear and headed out with snacks (I had not replenished the water and Gatorade stock in my garage since last Sunday’s call-out — not to self: restock ASAP). Arrived on-scene ~ 1225, and checked in with the IC who said everything was under control, and they had enough rehab supplies on their trucks. I sent out a CodeRED status update @ 1237, and returned home.
Saturday 1 October 2016
The crowd at October’s Market Days was a remarkably healthy and accident-free group: our trusty EMS support team did not see a single patient all day. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Joseph Aguilar, Jenny Graves, Luke Johnson, and Paula López had a quiet October 1st.
Sunday 25 September 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1706 for a structure fire in Belterra. Quick address check in Google Maps showed that it was less than 1 mile from my house; I “suited up,” grabbed some water, ice, Gatorade, and snacks, and headed out. Arrived on-scene ~ 1720, and met Elaine West. We checked in with the IC who told us that the structure had been hit by lightning, but everything was under control, and they just needed extra water and Gatorade. I sent out a CodeRED update @ 1736 to let everyone know that we did not need a Rehab trailer, or extra help and supplies. The IC released CERT @ 1800.
Saturday 3 September 2016
September’s Market Days focused on bandages. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Eric Ma, Zoe Wisniewski, Nicole Sawtelle, Baley Helton, and Yasmin Baqdounes treated three patients during the day. The first was woman whose thumb had been caught in a closing car door; the team cleaned the wound, applied antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid. They told the patient to see her doctor to check for a possible fracture; she came back later for a bandage change and was OK. The next patient was a young man who had fallen and scraped his knee. He had washed it out, but it was still bleeding so he came to the First Aid station. The CERT volunteers cleaned the wound and applied two bandages. The last patient was an elderly gentleman who had fallen in his booth, cutting his neck and forearm. The afternoon team cleaned his wounds and applied bandages.
Saturday 6 August 2016
August’s Market Days had a variety of patients visiting the First Aid Station with a gamut of issues: overheated, underhydrated, insect bites, and minor burns. Shirlee King had excellent support from Medical Explorer Post 4077 members Eric Whittaker, Kimberly Helton, Marco Luz, Luke Johnson, and Paula Lopez as they treated and monitored people throughout the day. They had barely settled in before the first patient appeared complaining of lightheadedness, double vision, and being wobbly. The team gave her water, checked her vital signs (normal), and advised more hydration; her husband took her home to rest. There was a small break before the next patient showed up with a minor burn; he was treated and released. A patient with an insect bite was next; the stinger was removed, the area was cleaned, sting relief and a band aid were applied. Another patient with a minor burn was then treated; the team cleaned the area with an antiseptic wipe. At lunch time, a woman came in with abdominal cramps, clammy flushed skin, and sweating; she was given water to hydrate and advised to see her PCP for follow-up. Later in the afternoon, the team was called to her booth as the cramps had returned; she was pale and cool to the touch, so they brought her back to the air-conditioned First Aid Station for cooling down. Her mother and sister will take her to the ER on their way home. The last patient was an overheated concession stand customer; she was brought to the First Aid Station to cool down. After giving her water and applying cold wet towels to the back of her neck, her color returned and her condition improved.
Friday 22 July 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the Amatra system for TEXSAR/HCSO search in Kyle. CERT members started arriving @ 1700 for an HCSO briefing, and then set up the rehab trailer off in a cornfield. CERT was released @ ~ 2030, but a few stayed a bit longer to wrap up.
Tom Conley, Cathy Kubica, Char Wood, Patti Barrett, and Ruben Thompson manning the Rehab Trailer out in the middle of a cornfield
Sunday 17 July 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 0908 this morning for a structure fire in Dripping Springs. Quick address check in Google Maps showed that it was less than 10 miles from my house; I grabbed some water, ice, and snacks and headed out. Paul Elliott, Gary Callon, and Tom Conley checked in to see if extra help or a rehab trailer was needed; I said I would let them know after I conferred with the IC. I arrived on-scene @ ~ 1000; the IC noted that the structure, which was fully involved when they arrived, was under control and North Hays Fire & Rescue only needed some extra ice and water for the continuing mop-up and investigation. The supplies I brought were sufficient (although Assistant Chief Love, as is his wont, did have a comment or two regarding the expiration dates on the snacks) and EMS was on-scene for rehab, so I sent out a CodeRED update @ 0959 to let everyone know that we did not need a Rehab trailer, or extra help and supplies. The IC released CERT @ 1100.
Saturday 2 July 2016
The good-sized crowd at the July Fourth weekend’s Market Days did not — fortunately — lead to a lot of patients seen in the First Aid Station. Shirlee King along with Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Omar Ordoñez, Eric Ma, Tara Flougher, and Karah Beavers only treated four visitors. The most serious was an older woman who had fallen hitting the right side of her forehead and eyebrow resulting in a bursting laceration and bump; the area was cleansed and ice applied. She did not lose consciousness, but, as advised, her daughter took her to a hospital for x-rays and possible stitches. Other patients included a teenage female with upset stomach and vomiting; someone with a small (and week-old) poison ivy rash; a patient with back pain after setting up a booth; and a female with two sting bites on her right foot. All were appropriately treated and sent on their merry way.
Saturday 4 June 2016
A bee, one lousy bee was responsible for the only EMS support activity at May’s Market Days. An “orange and yellow” insect stung a finger on the right hand of a Market Days visitor, causing redness and slight swelling. CERT members cleansed the site, applied sting relief, and suggested that the patient return later for a recheck. Shirlee King was there in her lead role, with Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Sydney Parker, Tristan Renteria, and Kristen Letry on hand to assist.
Saturday 7 May 2016
No EMS support activity—not even a single band aid was dispensed—at April’s Market Days, but Shirlee and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Rudy Padilla, Omar Ordoñez, Kiley Schlortt, and Dominique Zeigler were busy. A fire in an outside electrical box knocked out power to the building where the First Aid Station is housed, and they helped concession stand 1 clean out and move things to the BBQ stand. EMS had been called out to a traffic accident on RR 12 in Wimberley, and were not able to return. A woman passed out at concession stand 4, but they called 9-1-1 immediately, and CERT did not get involved. Power was still out @ 1600 when Shirlee left.
Friday—Sunday 22—24 April 2016
Jim Meeks, Patti Barrett, Elaine West, and I provided EMS support at various times during the Dripping Springs Founders Day Festival. Activity was very light and I cancelled Rachel Maldonado’s shift. We were using Hays County’s IRU (Incident Response Unit; a 20′ V-Nose Trailer complete with a blow-up air tent attachment) as a staging area and cooling tent for EMS and SO activities.
Wednesday 20 April 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 2053 tonight for a structure fire in Dripping Springs off 290 west of RR 12. A check of the address in Google Maps showed that it was a quick direct trip from my house so I “suited up” and headed out immediately with some water, ice, and snacks. Paul Elliott, Gary Callon, and Patti Barrett checked in to see if extra help or a rehab trailer was needed; I said I would let them know after I conferred with the IC. I arrived on-scene @ ~ 2115 and checked in with the IC who reported that the structure fire, despite having large initial flames, was now under control and they only needed some extra ice and water. The supplies I brought were sufficient and EMS was on-scene for rehab, so I sent out a CodeRED update @ 2138 to let everyone know that no extra help or supplies were needed. Jim Meeks also responded, but in the darkness and confusion with lots of vehicles on a narrow road, we were not able to connect. North Hays Fire & Rescue, along with other local units, wrapped things up quickly, and the IC released CERT @ 2230. I left a cooler with ice and water with EMS for rehab as the firefighters continued to mop up.
Structure Fire in Dripping Springs — the red tones are from the fire vehicles’ lights; the fire itself was largely out at this point
Saturday 9 April 2016
We had a light turnout at our monthly meeting, but it gave everyone there plenty of time to do the fire extinguisher refresher training. Thanks to Wimberley VFD for providing the equipment and the personnel to do the training.
The BullEx Intelligent Training System™ (I.T.S.) uses a controlled, propane-based fire to recreate an incipient stage fire. It is designed to teach the PASS method in the cleanest, safest way possible. I’ll have to check with Guinness, but I believe Patti Barrett may have set a new CERT record by putting a fire out in TWO seconds.
We also had a chance to demonstrate the setup and use of one of the new Streamlight Portable Scene Lights that we now have in all the rehab trailers.
Saturday 2 April 2016
The second Market Days of 2016 was a reasonably routine day at the First Aid Station until Shirlee King became a patient. Prior to that Shirlee and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Lindy Kyler, Omar Ordoñez, Claire Pender, and Atlee Goodwin along with Wimberley EMS’ Sam Schuleman treated three patients for minor wounds and cuts. Around mid-afternoon Shirlee got tangled up with a stroller and fell down hitting both knees, right foreman, left elbow, backs of both hands, cutting her face and nose, and giving her two black eyes. She’s sore but OK, saying it looks worse than it feels.
Friday 25 March 2016
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1340 today for a structure fire off FM 967 a bit southeast of FM 1826. While trying to decide if I should go directly there with some ice, water, Gatorade, and snacks, or stop and grab the Driftwood Rehab Trailer on the way, Paul Elliott called and we decided I would head out immediately to check in with the IC to assess rehab needs; Paul and Gary Callon would stand by and be ready to bring up the Wimberley Rehab Trailer. I arrived on-scene @ 1400 and checked in with the IC who reported that the fire, in a small tractor shed, was under control and they only needed some extra ice, water, Gatorade, and snacks. The supplies I brought were sufficient, so I called Paul to cancel the Wimberley trailer and then sent out a CodeRED update @ 1430 to let everyone know that no extra help or supplies were needed. North Hays Fire & Rescue, along with other local units, wrapped things up quickly, and the IC released CERT @ 1500.
Remains of tractor and shed
Saturday 5 March 2016
The first Market Days of 2016 saw a fairly busy day at the First Aid Station. Shirlee King and Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Lindy Kyler, Ashli Holmes, Brittany Mayes, and Merri Rhodes treated four patients. The most serious was an elderly visitor who had fallen resulting in a forehead cut; the patient (with a history of shoulder, knee, and back surgeries) did not pass out, but did have blurred vision. After treating the forehead cut, the patient was transported by ambulance to Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle. The team saw two visitors with hand or finger lacerations; they cleansed the wounds, applied butterflies, and bandages. One more visitor tripped and fell on left knee and hand; there was no skin breakage or loss of motion, and ice was applied.
Saturday 13 February 2016
Alas, I took no pictures as some before and after shots would have been nice to show how almost totally spiffy the CERT storage space (previously known as the “Bus Barn”) on Jacobs Well Road now looks. Tom and Deb Conley, Cathy Dowling, Mike Jones, and I cleaned, assembled shelving, and rearranged items so we could store a variety of CERT equipment. Earlier in the week, Paul Elliott and I took a large trailer full of trash to the Hays County Transfer Station in Wimberley to try to get a head start on the cleanup. That same day Kyle FD brought in a large trailer of CERT supplies that we had previously stored at one of their facilities. Paul had planned to return Saturday to assist further, but was called in to the Wimberley VFD as a substitute driver. He still managed to drop off some needed supplies on his way. With the new shelving units and clean open floor space, we are now able to easily store larger items and things that would not fit in the Mountain City building while freeing up space we were taking in Kyle FD’s buildings.
As an unexpected precursor to the cleaning day, there was a “small” plumbing problem at the site the previous week that ruined some boxes and left some of the CERT apparel wet. Paul took all of the wet shirts home, washed and dried them, and brought them back for restocking. Extra credit to Paul for that activity.
Saturday 6 February 2016
Paul Elliott and I took the Kyle Rehab Trailer to the Buda Burn House primarily to show the Caldwell CERT how the trailer was outfitted and what we do for firefighter rehab. The occasion was the final day of a joint fire academy for new firefighters from Kyle, Buda, Maxwell, and Chisholm Trail (if I missed any participants, I apologize).
The Buda Burn House
Many friends and families of the firefighters attended and brought plenty of water, Gatorade, and snacks, so actual use of our rehab trailer was minimal. But we did get a chance to show how we had configured the trailer and what was available.
All in all, a good exercise (and I got a few opportunities to practice backing the rehab trailer; I even managed to park it between another trailer and a dumpster back at the Kyle Fire Station without hitting anything, although it did take a couple tries).
Saturday 4 December 2015
The last Market Days of the year had many visitors, but apparently they all were a hale, hearty, and careful bunch because no one required the services of the First Aid Station. Shirlee King along with Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Karah Beavers, Bradley Gustafson, Brenda Wilkinson, and Lindy Kyler had a quiet day with no “customers.” Market Days will resume in March 2016.
Monday 16 November 2015
Tim Salles completed his excellent rehab of the Driftwood Rehab Trailer, and it now has shelves and storage units like the other Rehab Trailers. Tom Conley and I started putting items back in the trailer while it was still outside Tim’s workshop. Tom will take the trailer to his house to complete an inventory of what new rehab supplies and storage containers might be needed. Tom and I also moved the large four-drawer filing cabinet, which had been bolted to the front of the trailer, from Tim’s workshop to the CERT Headquarters Building in Mountain City where it will be used for additional storage space.
Saturday 7 November 2015
It was a cold and dreary day with low attendance at Market Days, but Shirlee King along with Medical Explorers Post 4077 members Karah Beavers and Nicole Sawtelle persevered to support EMS and man the First Aid Station. They treated one Lions member for a yellow jacket sting near his left ear.
Saturday 31 October 2015
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 0517 this morning for a structure fire east of Dripping Springs. Paul Elliott called to note that he and Gary Callon would bring the rehab trailer up from Wimberley, so I headed out to the site with water and ice. I arrived on-scene @ 0600 to find NHCFR mopping up after putting the fire out. I checked in with the IC and he suggested staging the trailer behind the engine seen on the left in the picture below. Paul and Gary were still en route and dealing with a less than up-to-date GPS. Fire Marshall Czichos arrived ~ 0630 and also noted issues with GPS directions. The IC began releasing various equipment, and said a full CERT rehab activity was no longer needed. I called Paul and Gary to cancel the trailer, left a cooler with water and ice for the remaining trucks, and was released by the IC @ 0700
Wednesday 28 October 2015
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1216 today for a brush fire northwest of Dripping Springs. After conferring with Paul Elliott, who confirmed that Gary Callon was available to bring a rehab trailer, I grabbed some ice, water, and Gatorade, and headed out to the site. NHCFR already had the ~ 5—10 acre fire out when I arrived @ 1300, and the IC said all they needed for rehab was some Gatorade, extra water, and ice. I dispensed Gatorade, transferred water and ice to a brush truck’s cooler, and sent a CodeRED update out via the ECN Launcher app on my smartphone. The IC released CERT @ 1340.
Monday 12 October 2015
October’s monthly CERT meeting was held Saturday 10/10/15 at the new CERT headquarters building in Mountain City, and we took advantage of the beautiful morning to gather on the front porch. It was a small turnout and a short meeting, but we had time to check out the building and its newly installed phone and internet lines from TWC, discuss recent call-outs, ECM updates, and future plans.
Photo by Kharley Smith
Wednesday 30 September 2015
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1411 today for a grass fire at La Ventana in Driftwood. This fire had quite a smokey start (the smoke plume was visible from North Hays Fire Station 62 on 1826) and was sweeping across a field where there were several underground utilities including gas lines, electrical lines, and water lines, so extra caution was required and Task Force 1 had been alerted. While Paul Elliot and I were conferring about how much rehab help would be required, he noted that the alert for Task Force 1 had just been cancelled, so things were looking better. I grabbed some ice, water, and Gatorade, and headed out to the site. When I arrived ~ 1500, the IC said things were coming under control, that he would soon be releasing one or two of the brush trucks (I saw trucks from Wimberley VFD and North Hays on scene), and all they needed for rehab was water and Gatorade. I was able to use the new ECN Launcher app for CodeRED to send out a quick update to CERT members from my smartphone. The IC released more brush trucks over the next hour, and @ 1625 also released CERT.
Checking out gas line outlet (the two gentlemen not wearing fire gear are from the gas company)
Saturday 12 September 2015
At CERT’s September meeting held at the Wimberley VFD, Chief Czichos gave 11 CERT members an excellent overview of Search & Rescue (SAR) techniques including the psychology of people who get lost. Using examples from the recent Memorial Day flooding event, the Chief explained procedures and types of searches. Gene Robinson of RP Flight Systems also attended and discussed the latest work he’s been doing with unmanned aerial vehicles and high resolution imagery to assist SAR activities and map disaster areas.
Both Chief Czichos and Gene mentioned a very useful book and app on lost person behavior that, with the analysis of statistical data from several thousand missing person cases, gives step-by-step instructions for search plans in over 40 different scenarios.
Sunday 6 September 2015
Shirlee King along with Justin Carranza, Karah Beavers, and Lindy Kyler from TSU’s Medical Explorers Post 4077 were quite active at yesterday’s Market Days in Wimberley: two patients with a history of heart problems were transported by EMS to the hospital; they treated another patient with a lacerated finger and advised that he go to the ER for followup; a patient with heat-related symptoms was sent home; and two patients had minor cuts cleaned and bandaged. Special thanks to all who volunteered at the start of the Labor Day weekend.
Monday 17 August 2015 redux
CERT rehab call-out via the CodeRED system @ 1613 today for a grass fire at La Ventana in Driftwood. Conferred with Paul Elliott and Gary Callon re activating the Wimberley rehab trailer, and decided to wait until I got on scene to check with Chief Miller about rehab requirements. Elaine West came by as I was loading my truck, and she went ahead with some water, Gatorade, and ice. I stopped to get some more ice, and then dawdled down 1826 behind some yahoo who apparently thought the speed limit was either 18 or 26. I pulled over and left a voicemail for Chief Miller asking about fire status and CERT needs. I was turning onto 170 in Driftwood when Chief Miller called back @ 1654 and said we could cancel CERT rehab as the fire was out and things were under control. Some pictures are available on the North Hays Facebook page: North Hays County Fire Rescue.
Monday 17 August 2015
CERT rehab call-out yesterday via the CodeRED system @ 1748 for a structure fire on Hidden Springs Dr in Dripping Springs. As this location was only ~ 4 miles from my house, I grabbed some water, Gatorade, ice, and a cooler, and headed out. I arrived on scene @ ~ 1815. Gary Callon was on his way with the Wimberley rehab trailer, and Paul Elliot was — literally — right behind him. Chief Miller said the fire was under control, and the rehab trailer was no longer needed, so I called Gary to cancel @ 1824. Elaine West and Pam Bellah arrived @ ~ 1830, followed by Roger and Doraline Moore @ ~ 1835, and Paul Elliot @ ~ 1840. We transferred the water, Gatorade, and ice to NHF&R/EMS coolers, were released by Chief Miller, and on our way(s) home @ 1900. As Elaine was leaving, Bryon Turner arrived and Elaine told him CERT involvement was over (Bryon did, however, win the furthest-distance-traveled award).
Captain Coffman and Chief Miller
Sunday 9 August 2015
We had an excellent training session yesterday. Larkin Smith and Robert Miranda presented the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver® First Aid CPR AED course to 13 CERT members. The course combined videos with hands-on activities, and covered — as you might guess from its title — First Aid, CPR (both adult and infant), and AED. The instructors kept the class engaged and involved throughout the day with videos, hands-on practice, personal experiences, and great senses of humor. All 13 CERT members will soon receive their course completion cards that are valid for two years.
One of the key participants (he didn’t say much: I believe he had some medical issues)
Monday 3 August 2015
And…we’re back. Call-out @ 1210 to the same site off Hamilton Pool Rd. Yesterday’s brush fire had rekindled sometime before noon. Units from North Hays, Kyle, Oak Hill, and Lake Travis were on scene. I threw what bottled water I had left into my truck, stopped for ice at Valero, and arrived ~ 1245. Gary Callon brought the Wimberley rehab trailer in around 1300, and we dispensed water, Gatorade, and snacks. Around 1330, as we were about to set up a tent with the mister, Chief Miller came by to note that he was releasing most of the equipment, but needed some extra water and ice for the brush truck remaining in the field. We filled his request and were released. By 1400, Gary and I had buttoned everything up and were on the road home.
Sunday 2 August 2015
Received a heads-up for a possible CERT call-out @ 1648, and a CodeRED system alert for firefighter rehab @ 1708. Seems that someone off Hamilton Pool Rd in Dripping Springs decided it was safe to burn a small brush pile. It wasn’t, and winds quickly spread the fire. A 9-1-1 call brought Travis County FD in from Bee Caves and North Hays Fire & Rescue in from various stations. The fire spread to an acre or more before it was brought under control. I arrived on scene at ~ 1735, and Gary Callon brought the Wimberley rehab trailer in around 1750. We set up a misting fan, and provided water, Gatorade, and snacks. Tom Conley came up from San Marcos, arriving around 1800. Chief Miller began releasing the brush trucks at 1830, and Tom Conley headed home at the same time. The fire was out and all remaining fire equipment left by 1850. Chief Miller released CERT at that time, and Gary and I were on the way home by 1900.
Gary with the Wimberley Rehab Trailer; misting fan set up at back of trailer
Thursday 23 July 2015
CERT rehab call-out @ 0214 through the CodeRED system for firefighter rehab in Dripping Springs. Paul Elliot, Gary Callon, and I coordinated via telephone: Gary would bring the Wimberley rehab trailer after he and Paul got ice from the Wimberley VFD, and I would head to the site with some water and Gatorade. I arrived on scene ~ 0300: fire was under control at that point and the IC said all they needed was some additional water and Gatorade. Gary and Paul arrived soon after; we moved some snacks plus a cooler with ice, water, and Gatorade to a rehab area selected by the IC; Gary and Paul left ~ 0345. The IC said the fire was out and there would be some more follow-on activity, but no need for any extensive rehab, so released CERT @ ~ 0415.
Monday 20 July 2015
After several years of faithful service to CERT, Charlie Plassman has decided it’s time to stand down. Kudos to Charlie for his team leadership, his excellent photo documentation of the SAR trailer’s contents, his detailed compass field training session, and his years of work with Hays County CERT. We will miss his enthusiasm, but go forward with the knowledge that he is another local citizen well-prepared for emergencies.
Monday 6 July 2015
Saturday July 4th was a busy day in Wimberley with various Independence Day and VFW Rodeo activities. Fortunately the CERT volunteers (Shirlee King, Samantha Cruz, Robert Miranda, and Lindy Kyler) supporting EMS at Market Days had a relatively quiet day: they removed a splinter from one person’s foot, and treated another person for an insect bite to the forehead.
Monday 25 May 2015
Now that things have — fingers crossed — calmed down a wee bit, I thought it would be a good time to prepare a brief, and rough, chronology of CERT activities over the last two days. I may not have all the times and names correct, so feel free to let me know.
Way back on Saturday, at 2046 hours, Kharley sent out a text noting the possibility of a shelter operation in Wimberley. At 2204 Dispatch sent out a CERT activation notice for shelter operation at the Wimberley Community Center. Byron Turner, Bob Pierce, and Patti Barrett responded. At 2347 Dispatch sent a CERT callout for rehab at a structure fire off 1826, which would have been a easy reach for our Driftwood rehab trailer except it was in San Marcos for installation of new shelving and cabinets. While trying to determine how fast we could get one of our other rehab trailers from Kyle or Wimberley, Kay Allen, Dripping Springs EMC, called to request shelter support at Rooster Springs Elementary School (the DS High School and Middle School, the usual shelter locations in DS, were without power) for residents of a Dripping Springs mobile home park that had been hit by either a tornado or damaging straight-line winds. School officials opened Rooster Springs and I went there with Shannon Burke (member of the DS Emergency Planning Committee) to await the arrival of the Red Cross and their shelter kits. Two HCSO deputies arrived and noted that they had just heard about a possible structure fire on Grafton Ln, just down the street and around the corner from my house. I zipped over there to see if any rehab was needed, but there was just one empty police car on scene and no obvious activity. I did not want to start randomly ringing doorbells, so I returned to Rooster Springs. A fire truck went by a bit later, but there was no other major activity. Neighborhood news later indicated it might have been a lightning strike that damaged appliances. The Red Cross arrived with shelter materials and we rearranged tables and chairs in the school cafeteria to accommodate the anticipated guests. We were then told that it had been decided that shelter operations would be consolidated at the Community Center in Wimberley, so we moved all the Red Cross shelter material back into their vehicle, and it went down to Wimberley. Things wrapped up at Rooster Springs around 0300.
Meanwhile, back in Wimberley, the Community Center lost power, so that shelter activity was moved to Wimberley High School (Byron and the Wimberley mayor stayed at the Community Center for a bit with 12 people who did not want to leave). Tom and Debra Conley, on their way from San Marcos to assist at the shelter, were blocked by the closed bridge on RR12 over the Blanco River in Wimberley, so they stopped to help Kruger Du Plessis, his wife Shannon, and Gayle Bandy with traffic control. Later that morning, when the bridge was opened, Tom and Debra were able to check in at the High School where Susan Raybuck, Karen Herrmann, and Karen Crowther were working at the Shelter’s Intake Station.
By ~ 0600 the shelter had checked in ~ 274 people. As the day progressed and people were relocated, the number dropped to ~ 70. By the next morning, there was only one person still at the shelter and EMC decided at the 1100 daily planning meeting to close the operation.
A hearty round of applause to those who responded and worked through the night and day to help.
Monday 18 May 2015
Dispatch activated CERT this morning @ 0212 for Firefighter Rehab at a structure fire on Goforth Rd in Kyle. Patti Barrett was first on scene @ 0300. Gary Callon, after finding his way around a low-water crossing or two, arrived next @ ~ 0310. I stopped by Kyle Fire Station 2 to pick up the Kyle Rehab trailer, and got to the scene @ 0330 just behind Paul Elliot. Rapid response by the Kyle FD contained the fire to the structure’s interior, and they quickly extinguished it. We supplied snacks, Gatorade, water, and coffee. By 0400 activities were already winding down, and Patti returned home. Chief Taylor released CERT @ 0410. Paul, Gary, and I returned the trailer to Fire Station, where Gary admirably backed it into the parking space in one try (I, on the other hand, would have been there another 30 minutes, which is why Paul encouraged Gary to assist — I need lots of trailer-backing-up practice). We were all merrily on our way home by 0430.
Monday 4 May 2015
Shirlee King and Karen Crowther were our stalwart volunteers for both shifts at Wimberley Lions Market Days on Sat. May 2nd. They had a fairly busy day applying bandaids for a variety of minor injuries, giving an elderly exhausted man a ride to his car, helping a diabetic with swollen legs (and advising him to followup with his doctor), checking a baby with a forehead abrasion, and treating a vendor with an arm burn.
Wednesday 15 April 2014
CERT member Cathy Dowling, who teaches Criminal Justice and CERT training at San Marcos High, gave her classes the final CERT exercise test this Monday and Tuesday. The exercise was a “disaster site” set up in the school’s auditorium. Members of the school’s theater group assisted by playing victims and using makeup to simulate various injuries. CERT members Tom and Deborah Conley along with Hays County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mike Jones and Joe McKenna, PhD candidate at TSU, assisted Cathy in keeping the students safe, coaching in some situations, and evaluating results.
Trapped “victims” at the disaster scene (thanks to Tom Conley for the photo)
Monday 13 April 2015
Callout for rehab this afternoon to Dripping Spring ISD Administration Building where a threatening letter and package were being investigated. HCSO, North Hays Fire and EMS, Hays County OEM, and the San Marcos HazMat unit were on-scene, and the FBI was on its way. CERT was alerted at ~ 1200; Elaine West arrived ~ 1230 followed quickly by Roger and Doraline Moore; after juggling a few messages, I arrived ~ 1300 just before Gary Callon brought in the Wimberley rehab trailer. We initially dispensed water, Gatorade, and snacks. Chief Miller requested lunch items, so Elaine went to Sonic for 30 cheeseburgers and fries. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, we began to wrap things up ~ 1500, and were officially released soon thereafter.
Sunday 12 April 2015
Will Ammonds and Paul Elliot of Wimberley VFD provided excellent training yesterday to an audience of 13 at CERT’s April meeting. Will started with a video from Rescue3 International on the basics of swift water rescue that emphasized the DOs and DON’ts of this inherently dangerous activity. After Will and Paul did a show-and-tell on various rescue equipment, we went out behind the station for a demonstration and practice using throw bags.
Tuesday 7 April 2015
Wimberley Lions Market Days on Sat. April 4th was well staffed by Shirlee King, Roger Moore, and the following Medical Explorers from TSU: Sarah Grover, Nick Merutka, Maria Alejandra Moreno, Karah Beavers, and Robert Miranda. Two female visitors were seen, both for back issues. The first one had fallen stepping into a booth, and had wrist, leg, and lower back pain. She was transported to the First Aid Station for evaluation and check out by EMS; she passed all the on-scene checks, refused any other treatment, and left on her own (patient noted she was under treatment for vertebrae issues in her lower back). The second one also had back pain.
Friday 20 March 2015
Firefighter rehab callout this morning at 0636 for commercial structure fire at a self-storage facility in Kyle. Several storage units were involved and at least four fire departments (Kyle, San Marcos, Buda, and North Hays) were on scene. Two of the storage units had vehicles that were severely damaged. Quick response by the fire departments prevented the fire from spreading beyond the initial section. Cause of the fire was still being investigated. Paul Elliot, Ron Kondoff, Gayle Bandy (Merkord), Bryon Turner, and I responded; the rehab trailer was at the scene around 0730. The location was a short distance from Kyle’s Fire Station #2 where we keep the Kyle rehab trailer, so it was an easy haul. We supplied water, Gatorade, coffee, and snacks until we were released by the Kyle Chief @ ~ 1145. Paul & I had the trailer back at the Fire Station and were heading home by 1200.
Saturday 14 March 2015
In spite of SXSW and wild Ultimate π Day celebrations, we had a total of 16 attendees, not counting the two instructors, at this morning’s monthly CERT meeting. Paul and I discussed the Wildland Fire Assessment Program and the need for individual home owners to reduce combustible materials in critical zones around their homes, and prepare BEFORE a wildland fire emergency. As the International Association of Fire Chiefs notes, “Wildland fire kills our firefighters and citizens, threatens our communities, destroys our natural resources, and costs too much.”
Sunday 8 March 2015
We had great coverage yesterday at the first Wimberley Lions Market Days of the year. Things got off to an inauspicious start when we could not get the Mule to start due to a weak/dead battery (attributed to the recent cold snap combined with Mule inactivity lately), but a jump start from a helpful vendor got us going. David Glosson and Char Wood, along with Jose Chavez and Megan Ducote (Texas State Medical Explorers), manned the morning shift. EMS examined one person experiencing chest pains and recommended transport to a hospital; the individual refused transport, and left the market place on his own. Karen Crowther and Justin Carranza (Texas State Medical Explorer) manned the afternoon shift. One vendor complained of feeling ill, but did seek any treatment. Team members checked with her twice through the afternoon as a precaution, but no treatment was administered.
Thanks to all who participated. The extra help from Texas State was really appreciated.
Sunday 22 Feb. 2015
The 2015 Wimberley Lions Market Days start Sat. March 7th, and we need CERT volunteers to help out. CERT supports EMS and provides initial fire suppression using a Kawasaki Mule with litter carrier and several fire extinguishers. Market Days runs March through Dec. and is on the first Sat. of the month. http://www.shopmarketdays.com/. Directions are posted in the Calendar section of the CERT web site (click on the event for details).
Sunday 15 Feb. 2015
Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s training in Kyle. We had a good turnout with ~ 25 people there (counting attendees, presenters, OEM, and HCSO). Also thanks to the Kyle Fire Dept. for providing the training room and equipment bay for our rehab trailer demonstration. Next month’s session will be in Dripping Springs (location TBD) and will cover Wildland Fire Assessment. The web site calendar seems to be a little slow in updating, but all the schedule changes through the end of this year have been entered.
Sunday 8 Feb. 2015
CERT’s Feb. training will be held Sat. 14 Feb. 2015 at Kyle Fire Station #1 (210 West Moore Street Kyle, TX 78640; https://goo.gl/maps/KbI3k). The topic, and demo, will be “Setting up rehab trailers & equipment.” We encourage everyone to attend as we would also like to discuss how to best set up CERT teams in the county.
Friday 9 Jan. 2015
Tomorrow’s CERT training in Kyle has been cancelled due to hazardous weather and travel conditions. If we can get the proper sites arranged, we will try to move the Rehab Trailer training to Feb. and shift all other scheduled training by one month.
Wednesday 7 Jan. 2015
Stay tuned for possible changes to the monthly training scheduled for Saturday 10 Jan. 2015. If the following forecast holds, we do not want to subject any members to hazardous driving conditions in order to reach the training site in Kyle (and I have no desire to pull a trailer on icy roads). http://www.srh.noaa.gov/graphicast.php?site=ewx&gc=6
We may shift the training schedule by one month, and do this month’s training in Feb., etc.
Saturday 3 Jan. 2015
Lightning strikes twice! We received a firefighter rehab callout @ 0232 hours Sat. morning for a Buda structure fire caused by a lightning hit. We (Paul, Charlie, and I) responded with the Driftwood rehab trailer and were on-scene between 0330 and 0400. We supplied water, Gatorade, snacks, and coffee for the Kyle and Buda Fire Department units there until being released around 0600. Charlie and I then dropped by a structure fire in Manchaca also caused by a lightning hit to leave water, Gatorade, and snacks for the Kyle FD on-scene. The photo below is from the Buda fire; lots of foam used.
Friday 21 Nov. 2104
There’s a good animated infographic on CPR (including pets) at http://carrington.edu/blog/medical/how-to-perform-cpr/
Saturday 8 Nov. 2014
Despite competition from a variety of Veterans Day activities in Hays County and the start of deer season, the CERT’s November training session had 15 attendees at the Wimberley Volunteer Fire Department. Instructor Keith Tomlin from the Wimberley VFD presented an excellent review of “Ropes, Knots, and Low-Angle Rescue Techniques.” Keith noted that all of the knots he described can be reviewed at http://www.animatedknots.com/.