Text and Telephone Alerts
All CERT members are required to register with SMC Alert. SMC Alert is a "reverse 911" system used by MPFPD and San Mateo County to alert citizens of emergency situations. SMC Alert will send alerts based on data you provide in your profile, such as your locations and CERT skills. It is important that you keep this information up to date so that we know how to contact you and for what types of emergencies.
When completing your SMC Alert profile, be sure to
Emergency Radio Communications
Amateur (ham) Radio
History has proven that the only means of reliable emergency communications following a disaster is amateur radio. We encourage all active CERT members to obtain an amateur radio license and invest in a radio handset. Amateur radio classes, offered by the Bay Area Educational Amateur Radio Society (BAEARS) are posted in the calendar on our home page. More information about the CERT Emergency Radio Communications Plan may be found in the attached file at the bottom of this page.
Amateur radio operators are encouraged to seek out other ham radio resources, including:
MPFPD CERT Radio Communications Plan
Monthly Radio Net
Licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to check-in with Menlo Park's CERT radio communications net, which is held on the first Monday of the month starting at 1830 hours. We check-in on three frequencies, one after the next. We take a roll call based on the last three letters of your call sign, followed by any guests who might also like to check-in. Net control operators are drawn from our CERT membership and use equipment located in the Menlo Park Police Department, Atherton Police Department, and other locations.
Following an actual emergency, CERT, ARES/RACES, and other emergency groups will create radio networks per their established protocols. CERT members should check the frequencies listed above to listen for emergency radio messages and further instructions.
If you are a ham operator, be sure to bring your handset with you to your neighborhood assembly area when you check-in with your local Incident Commander. Radio communications will be a priority, and operators are needed in all CERT functions including search and rescue, medical triage and treatment, operations, logistics, and the incident command post.
Local Agencies with Amateur Radio Capabilities
FRS (Family Radio Service) radios may be used within a neighborhood CERT team for communications between the CERT neighborhood assembly area and CERT teams in the field. FRS radios do not require a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are sold in pairs, and are available from most electronics stores and online for less than $40.00.
Many FRS radios are also equipped to operate on the General Mobile Radio Service frequencies (GMRS), which DOES require a license from the FCC. The GMRS frequencies provide a little better distance that FRS.
FRS and GMRS can compete with ham radios in terms of distance but due to their popularity and low cost many CERT programs use them for emergency communications within neighborhoods, and ham radio for communications from the neighborhood to the MPFD fire district.
Menlo Park CERT conducts periodic courses on the use of FRS/GMRS radios in emergencies. Classes are posted in the calendar on the home page.
Santa Clara County ARES program has a treasure trove of training materials as well as classroom and hands-on opportunities.
Programming Your Handset with MPFD CERT Frequencies