CERT Becomes GET (Guemes Emergency Team)


“GET” is being established in 2023 to replace Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which now requires member recertification and training for all participants in order to continue using the title "CERT." The new GET program builds on the strengths of CERT as well as uses the existing “Map Your Neighborhood” (MYN) program”. It recognizes the challenges that are unique to Guemes Island.

• GET is a community led effort that builds resiliency and preparedness for future emergencies.

• GET supports and interfaces with the Guemes Island Fire Department (GIFD) but is separate.

• A special thank you is extended to the many island individuals who worked to create the CERT support system on Guemes. The basic structure created by CERT leaders remains in place as the island evolves into the new Guemes Emergency Team (GET).

• The island is partitioned into 35 neighborhoods each having a leader, an alternate, and a communications person. This was in the CERT structure and will continue.

• In the event of an emergency, GET will be activated by the GIFD. A GET “phone tree” to neighborhood leaders is the first step in the communication system.

• Guemes Island Community Church (GICC) and Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) each have defined roles to support the community should an emergency occur offering resources, emergency shelter, and more. Other organizations including Holiday Hideaway Homeowners Association are stepping up to join in this effort with a focus on prevention.

• A new GET Community Committee will help to lead the island into the future. The scope of work will be determined, but a primary goal is strengthening the community resources that GIFD may draw on in the event of an emergency. We are looking for volunteers.

• GET is a GICCA supported program and covered by GICCA's 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

GET CONNECTED! Next Action steps as recommended by GIFD Chief Oliva Cole. Many of these elements are TEMPORARY and will evolve in the months ahead... but we need to update NOW.

1. GET your team in place. Greta McAllister is helping to confirm the neighborhood leads. She will work to confirm leads, and where needed, a new person will be placed into that role. Volunteers generally spend a few hours a month. Contact Greta by email mcalistkg@frontier.com. A new GET email will be established soon.

2. GET involved... a new “GET Community Committee” is now seeking members. If interested, you may contact GICCAvolunteer@gmail.com. A new GET email will be established soon.

3. GET the word out! GIFD asks all community websites and newsletters to support this island-wide effort by sharing information in their publications. More information can be found at “MyGuemes.Org”.

4. GET your contact information to your neighborhood lead and they can add you to their text alert list. This is a TEMPORARY answer until an emergency database structure is researched and developed.

5. GET trained GIFD Fire Chief, Olivia Cole, will be running a series of meetings in the fall to orient neighborhood leads or on safety topics.

6. “Firewise” at Community Hall on Saturday, October 14 from 1:00 to 3:00 being offered by Whatcom/Skagit Conservation District. Holiday Hideaway Homeowners Association is coordinating this fire prevention orientation that may carry over into personal fire evaluations at your home. Learn more by attending.