Seventeen years ago, about 75 enthusiastic CERT volunteers came out to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Snohomish County, for the day. That memorable day, in 2003, was the first CERT Expo. The CERT Expo evolved to include continuing education sessions in the morning and participation by volunteers in a disaster exercise in the afternoon. In 2005, the CERT Expo expanded and moved to the Everett Community College. The intrepid volunteers spread the word about the Expo and, in 2007, the Expo moved to the Washington State Fire Training Academy, in North Bend, to accommodate the growing participation of CERT volunteers from across the state. Children’s Hospital and the State Citizen Corps joined as partners, which allowed a wider range of offerings. The focus was on skill refreshers through training and disaster exercises.
Since 2008, the Expo has expanded to include Citizen Corps partners and affiliates from across the Northwest: including participants from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Canada. Each year, with the help of sponsors, partners, volunteers and staff, the Expo trains disaster response volunteers on key emergency response skills, preparing them to assist when the need arises in their own communities. By 2010, over 200 people were actively training and participating in the Expo. The Expo is currently held at Renton Technical College, a partner that is totally supportive of the premise behind the event.
The need for emergency preparedness has been front and center in the news with the SR-530 mudslide, wildfires and flooding and the threat of tsunamis and a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Changing weather patterns increase the risk for extreme weather events and, no matter where we live, natural disasters can strike at any time.
When: August 3-4, 2018
Where: Renton Technical College