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October 17, 2012 (Ramona) -- Ramona CERT was among eight beneficiaries named in the inaugural 2012 awards made by the newly formed affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, The Ramona Community Foundation. The team was presented with a check for $4,000 during a reception at the Ramona Community Library on Saturday, October 6.

Pictured from L-R: Shelley Stefanyszyn, Don Scott, John Degenfelder, Chair-The Ramona Community Foundation, Wes Brustad*, Board Mbr-The Ramona Community Foundation, Cal-Fire Battalion Chief Burke Kremensky, Barry Davis*, and Philip Savage. Photo Credit: Maureen Robertson *San Diego Country Estates’ residents

The funds will go towards the acquisition, build-out and purchase of equipment for a new emergency response trailer that will be stationed at Cal-Fire Station 81 within San Diego Country Estates. The trailer will be the Ramona Community Emergency Response Team's third vehicle, adding to its command vehicle and trailer, thus increasing its reach and ability to support the Ramona community in providing first-responder resources during times of disaster.

The grant generously bestowed by The Ramona Community Foundation will help to fund the first phase of the project concerning the acquisition of the trailer. The team must still raise additional funds to install shelving and bins for storage of emergency supplies, as well as stock it with search and rescue gear, first aid supplies, communications and other items necessary to help volunteer members contend with fires, earthquakes, floods, or other calamitous events, such as the power “blackout” that affected the entire County and much of the southwest region on September 8, 2011. Ramona CERT is actively seeking donations to match the seed money provided by RCF in this endeavor, and is hopeful that local businesses and individuals will also recognize the value in having this additional resource on hand in SDCE to help serve and assist its residents.

The RCF grant will enable Ramona CERT to expand on its capabilities within the Estates’ area should the closure of San Vicente Road, Old Julian Highway or Wildcat Canyon prevent team members from accessing equipment and supplies in downtown Ramona. During the “Witch Fire”, the team was activated locally for more than nine days. In the September 2011 “Blackout,” CERT members checked on the physically challenged and delivered emergency generators for those needing power for medical equipment. Should such a need arise, many of the Ramona CERT volunteers are trained additionally in organizing and running disaster shelter operations.

To make a donation to Ramona CERT or for information about joining the team, please contact the Program Manager, Cal-Fire Capt. Robert McLaughlin, Fire Station 80, 829 San Vicente Rd, Ramona, CA, 92065. Tel: 760-788-2222. Email: cert@rmwd.org.

Ramona CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a volunteer organization of registered disaster service workers that is part of the government's Citizen Corps program. There are 1,100 or more CERT groups throughout the United States. Limited to 30 volunteers, Ramona has one of the most active and highly-trained CERT teams in San Diego County. Training sessions on a variety of public safety and emergency preparedness topics are held on the fourth Tuesday each month (except December) between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ramona Community Library, and are open to the public at no charge.

The Ramona CERT team is under the direction of the Ramona Fire Department, a department of the Ramona Municipal Water District in cooperation with Cal-Fire, the California Department of Forestry. As such, Ramona CERT aids in covering over 74 square miles, the largest unincorporated area in the County and serving an estimated 40,000 residents.

Each CERT group is trained in the community in which they live and is dependent largely upon grants or contributions from the community. In addition to The Ramona Community Foundation, the Ramona CERT team is sponsored by SDGE, SearchGear.com, Escondido Metal Supply, Ransom Brothers/True Value Hardware, Ellsworth Enterprise Manufacturing and Radio Creations, as well as some anonymous donors. Ramona CERT and the other seven successful beneficiaries of these first awards from The Ramona Community Foundation, were selected from a group of 21 local non-profit organizations at work serving the local community.

For more information about Ramona CERT, please visit www.ramonafire.com. For more information about The Ramona Community Foundation, please visit www.ramonacommunityfoundation.org.

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