Santa Paula Times

Left: Santa Paula and Ventura Community Emergency Response Team graduates took part in a three-hour, simulated disaster drill held in Ventura. Right, Mother and daughter team Barbara Cabral and Lauren Cabral of Santa Paula lead the way in carrying a patient during the November 16 simulated disaster drill held at the City of Ventura emergency drill grounds.

CERT: Latest team of SP community emergency responders graduates

November 29, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times 

Santa Paula can celebrate more residents who know how to take care of themselves and others in case of disaster.... and if you’re lucky you have a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) living in your neighborhood.

The latest CERT class graduated November 16 with a simulated disaster drill.

According to Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, “CERT class members from Santa Paula combined forces with the CERT class members from the City of Ventura for a three-hour drill at the City of Ventura Fire Department drill grounds.”

Lazenby and SPFD Firefighter Bernie Arana co-instructed the class of approximately 15 Santa Paulans who were taught the national CERT curriculum of emergency readiness.

The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Lazenby is known to emphasize that one type of disaster, earthquake, is a given and “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ we’ll experience an earthquake.”

Another given is that following a major disaster of any type local public safety responders would be kept busy with the most pressing emergency needs, and citizens could pretty much be on their own for three to five days. 

Lazenby noted that the most recent CERT graduates are now better equipped to handle an emergency for themselves, family and neighborhoods and even the graduation was continued education.

The CERT course includes training on search-and-rescue, freeing someone from light entrapment, basic medical skills, how to use fire extinguishers, turn off home utilities and ease assistance of firefighters when they arrive at an incident.

The combined CERT graduating classes-32 in all-participated in scenarios prepared by Lazenby and Ventura Fire Marshal Brian Clark.

Said Lazenby, “The drill provided an opportunity for the class members to practice some of the many skills they were taught during the past seven weeks in the 20-plus hours of classroom and field instruction.”

The graduation exercise, “Required the students to form into teams and provide incident command, fire suppression, search and rescue, treatment and heavy lifting,” and Lazenby said more than 10 volunteers were realistically dressed and made up as injured victims.  

Santa Paula has a high per capita of CERT graduates, about 900 citywide. 

For more information on CERT and on emergency preparedness visit,

Lazenby said the next CERT class in Santa Paula will begin early in 2014 and will be taught in Spanish.

For more information contact Lazenby at 805-525-4478 ex 241 or email him,