March 2021

Check out the tips from MCSO and learn how to avoid being a victim of a scam.

From the top

Are you prepared for this year’s storm season? You might think that you have until June 1 to prepare. Did you know that experts at NOAA are considering moving the start of hurricane season to May 15? We posted a link to the news story on our Facebook page Friday afternoon. Check it out.
 
Thank you to our dedicated Board and Committee Managers (pictured above during our virtual January Board meeting) for their efforts. Even through a pandemic, our team has kept LWR CERT activities moving, albeit differently than in the past. This team is working hard to educate our neighbors and to build the resilience of our area. What a great team!
 
Our March events include a Member Meeting, a test of the Emergency Radio Communications Network, and a Team Captain Workshop for all primary and backup TCs. Finishing touches are being put on a virtual table-top activation exercise in April and on a Group Leader Workshop scheduled for May. Details will be in next month’s newsletter.

I hope to "see" many of you at the March 29th Member Meeting.

Jim Emanuelson
President, LWR CERT
850.396.2695
March 29 Member Meeting: How hurricane proof is your home? Tips to help mitigate damage from a major storm
The March Member Meeting is one you're not going to want to miss.

We'll kick off with a sneak peek of the 2021 organization-wide hurricane preparedness exercise. For those of you who were members during our Hurricane Vic exercise, you'll see we've changed the Hurricane Prep exercise up a bit this year. The 2021 exercise will be a socially-distanced, online and radio tabletop simulation in April with members participating across several dates determined by team and radio hub.

Featured topic
The meeting's feature presentation is in response to requests we received at our January Member Meeting, specifically "can we learn how to evaluate the safety of our LWR homes?" Manatee County's Jeff Bowman, Code Enforcement Chief, and Tom Wooten, Code Enforcement Supervisor, will take this question head on. They'll review the Manatee County and Florida State building codes that relate to hurricanes and residential hurricane protection -- detailing when changes were made and why changes were made.

You'll learn what codes were in place the year your home was built -- instrumental in helping you make an informed "stay or go" evacuation decision. They will also provide insight into damage assessment after a storm -- what to focus on and how to avoid scams and shoddy repairs. There will be time for Q&A. Special thanks to Deb Diven for her role in securing the guest speakers for this meeting.
This is a 2021 Active Responder Qualifying Event.
COVID-19 Scams Public Presentations Very Well Attended
Fear, greed and punishment are at the root of all scams, according to Manatee County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mays, who shared his extensive scams knowledge during LWR CERT public educational sessions in January and February.

Deputy Mays shocked attendees when he noted that the age group impacted by the largest number of scams is 15-24 years old; mainly due to the amount of time they spend on the computer. Seniors, however, are the age group leading in the amount scammed. Top senior scams revolve around threats that your Social Security has been compromised or a grandchild is in jail and needs you to send money.
Scam Prevention Tips shared by Deputy Mays
  • The government will never call you asking for personal information - they already have it.
  • Never allow someone to move you to immediate action.
  • No reputable company will ask you to pay with a gift card, Western Union, or MoneyGram.
  • Don't cash checks that arrive unexpectedly.
  • Read contracts thoroughly -- overnight if you need to.
  • Spoof calls may show up as a legitimate organization.
  • Don't answer your phone if the number is not in your contact list.
  • If you haven't initiated the call, don't provide any personal information. Instead, hang up, look up the phone number, and call the organization directly.
Deputy Mays also recommends that residents freeze their credit, a 20-25 minute process that could save countless hours and dollars in the future. He also noted that the most prevalent crime in Manatee County currently is vehicle burglary. Deputy Mays recommends removing valuables and locking your vehicle, noting that 90% of the vehicles involved are unlocked.

Our thanks to Deputy Mays for sharing his vast knowledge of scams -- twice! Thanks, also, to Deb Diven for arranging for these presentations.
Busy March on the schedule for Team Captains
Team Captains and their alternates/backups have several training sessions in March.

First, on Saturday, March 13, Team Captains are asked to participate in the quarterly test of the Emergency Radio Communications Network (ERCN). Each team is requested to be represented during the test, which helps ensure the radio hubs and ERCN are ready for hurricane season.
A virtual TC Workshop the evening of Tuesday, March 23 will provide TCs with tips about the activation process. The virtual session begins at 7 PM and will also include a section on Team Captain Online Access -- what is available on the LWR CERT website and where to find it.

TCs should watch their inboxes for email invitations to both of these virtual sessions. Be sure to RSVP to receive login information and important event details.
Your dedication to CERT and Manatee County is not going unnoticed. This comment was received from Chief Litschauer via email after he read about our amazing member involvement in January events and activities, including more than 110 2021 Active Responders awards earned. Kudos to our great members!
Volunteer Opportunities
In light of the Board's recent expansion of the LWR CERT Mission Statement to include providing safety support for our community, we are sharing individual volunteer opportunities our members may wish to consider.

Local Feeding Events - Feeding Tampa Bay
  • Manatee County Mega Pantry: Every Tuesday 3 - 6 PM (feed 900+ families) Location: Desoto Mall, JCPenney's Side 303 301 Blvd W, Bradenton 34205 
  • Manatee County Mobile Pantry: Every 2nd Thursday of the month 3:30 - 6 PM (feed 350+ families) Location: CityLife, 1300 17th Ave W. Bradenton 34205 
  • Manatee County Mobile Pantry: Every 1st Saturday of the month 8:30 - 11 AM (feed 350+ families) Location: Just for Girls Elementary, 1011 21st E. Bradenton 34208 
  • Manatee County Mobile Pantry: Every 2nd Saturday of the month 8:30 - 11AM (feed 350+ families) Location: Early Learning Coalition, 600 8th Ave W #100, Palmetto 34221

Have a volunteer opportunity you'd like to share in an upcoming newsletter? Email details and links to: Communications@LWRCERT.org
Member News and Things to Know
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Happy March birthday to members Tom Bishop, Sandra Bruce, Scott Gindoff, Tony Gula, Dean Kudich, Kay Marcus, Chris Martin, Cynthia Olcott, Rich Pineda, Judy Plerhoples, Patt Staley, Paul Townsley, Stephen Voutsas, Jeff Williams, and Lauri Willson.

Thank you to Tim Sherer and Pat Knowles for sharing their radio knowledge and providing radio training to our fellow CERT members in University Park. We appreciate your willingness to share your expertise with other CERT programs in the area.

Thanks to Pat Knowles for also attending an information session on hybrid Basic Training. We're excited at the possibility of offering Basic Training using a combination of online and in-person instruction. Thank you to Deb Diven for connecting LWR CERT with the State College of Florida - SCF Lakewood Ranch, as we explore options.

The LWR CERT Audit Committee completed its audit and found the financial reports properly presented LWR CERT activity for fiscal 2020, and further that our treasurer maintained these records in good form and was taking reasonable care to protect LWR CERT assets. Our thanks to John Rocco, Alan Silverglat, and Pat Knowles for their time and effort on the audit.

At the request of one of our members, we are again including the link to an article on home workspace and how to maintain resilience as the pandemic continues. The story featured an interview and key points from LWR CERT VP Jan Kuhn and appeared in The Observer Health Matters December issue. You can access the article here to read Jan's mental, physical, and spiritual resilience tips.

The 2021 National CERT Conference is set for July 12-17 at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield, Missouri. Members from the public and private sector as well as many CERT volunteers will come together to renew the focus of CERT. For details and registration, visit http://2021nationalcertconference.com.
Upcoming LWR CERT Meetings and Training
Meetings take place virtually unless otherwise noted and are open to all members

Communications/15th Anniversary Planning Committee - Video Call - Tuesday, March 2 at 4 PM - email for login information
Board Meeting - Video Call - Monday, March 8 at 7 PM
Operations Committee - Video Call - Thursday, March 11 at 6 PM
Emergency Radio Communications Network Qtrly Test - Saturday, March 13 at 9 AM -- TCs watch inbox for email invite with details and registration information
Radio Communications Committee - Video Call - Wednesday, March 17 at 7 PM
Team Captain Workshop - Virtual - Tuesday, March 23 at 7 PM - TCs watch inbox for email invite with details and registration information
Member Meeting - Virtual - Monday, March 29 at 7 PM
LWR CERT Executive Committee

President - Jim Emanuelson
Vice President - Jan Kuhn
Treasurer - Pat Knowles
Liaison - Deb Diven

LWR CERT 941.404.8606
Newsletter Editor - Karen Emanuelson, Communications Manager

Thanks to Diane Anderson for proofreading our newsletters.

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