The Community Emergency Response Volunteers (CERV) of the Monterey Peninsula, a 501c3 non-profit, has launched MontereyCo.RECOVERS.org in response to the Soberanes Fire recovery efforts. The website is overseen and staffed by Recovers Squad volunteers from CERT programs in Monterey, Seaside, Marina, and Pacific Grove. The website, https://montereyco.recovers.
CERV established the Monterey County RECOVERS Squad in 2015 with funding from the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) so neighbors can help their neighbors during a crisis. In partnership with the Monterey County Emergency Operation Services, the CFMC, local CERT programs, the Red Cross and other groups, Monterey County RECOVERS is a go-to website for people affected by the fire. People can go on the site to list their needs, offer material donations, including housing, food, or volunteer their skills and services. It is a website where resource organizations (e.g. American Red Cross and other organizations) can document resources they have to offer. RECOVERS.org Squad members actively monitor the site and connect people to resources.
Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, a board member of CERV, explains,“RECOVERS.org is an organized grass roots level effort using technology to match one person to another person so that people’s needs from this disaster can be met and the community can recover more quickly. Donors will be connected directly to the person or organization with the need. If you have a need (no matter how small) or have supplies to share or are able to volunteer, go to the website.”
She adds, “We are pleased to be a part of the community-based resilience-building solution throughout our region. Our dedicated RECOVER Squad members are monitoring the site and responding to those with specific needs, as well as to those who want to donate items or volunteer to help. We will work as hard as we can, for as long as it takes, to help our communities respond and recover from the impact of the Soberanes Fire, as well as future disasters and emergencies in Monterey County.”
Lee Whitney, CERV’s president, explains, “The great thing is that we are in a position to be a central repository between needs and services. Larger organizations can participate and list the services they can provide, visible on a convenient map. And, individuals can provide donations. We have volunteers that both vet and match, and follow up on those requested needs and services.”
Dick Bower, MS, CEM, FM, Emergency Planner, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services wrote on the MontereyCo.Recovers.org website, “ Recovers will be an important resource as we move into recovery mode. Our thanks to the many volunteers who are assisting with this effort, and to all those who are offering resources to help their neighbors affected by the fire.”
RECOVERS (www.recovers.org) is a national organization providing a framework and web-based platform for grassroots assistance in times of disaster and recovery that connects, while vetting, community needs to services. It has been used by many communities across the nation. The goal of the RECOVERS.org websites throughout the country is to make communities more disaster resilient by using a simple website as a tool to match needs with donors and volunteers. Co-founders Caitria and Morgan created a functional infrastructure for recovery after an EF3 tornado in their hometown of Monson, MA. They were featured on TED https://recovers.org/about. Recovers.org is the idealization of the infrastructure they built: a clean, easy-to-use recovery software framework that can be deployed before, during, and after a disaster to create more resilient communities.
About CERV of the Monterey Peninsula
CERV of the Monterey Peninsula is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization with a mission to support local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) programs, build public awareness about emergency preparedness, and promote the community's capacity to respond to emergencies and natural or man-made disasters. CERV works with local CERT programs (Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Seaside, Marina, Big Sur, Carmel Highlands, Cachagua, South County, Pebble Beach) and promotes community preparedness through networking, grant writing and fundraising, community seminars and workshops, collaborating with local businesses and other organizations, and co-sponsorship of community events.
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) programs provide free, F.E.M.A. sanctioned emergency response training so residents across the country can learn how to keep their families and communities safe. CERT teams respond to emergencies, natural disasters and other critical events when deployed by a sponsoring agency (e.g., Fire Department). Monterey County has at least 12 active CERT programs.