Burlingame residents prove resilient despite COVID-19

Joe Becerra Cortez Drill via Zoom

Joe Becerra (top row, second from left) leads a drill with his Cortez Avenue neighbors via Zoom.

A total of 331 Burlingame residents in 31 neighborhood groups participated in the eighth annual Burlingame Disaster Survival Drill hosted by BNN on Saturday, October 10, 2020, and practiced responding to an “emergency within an emergency”–an earthquake that supposedly occurred while everyone was sheltering in place due to COVID-19.

Instead of meeting at an “Incident Command Post” to patrol their block for simulated problems, as participants have done during past drills, this year they practiced responding electronically to simulated “incidents” like a fire or downed power line within the safety of their own homes.

Suzanne Tateosian of BNN’s board, said she anticipates 10 of the groups that participated will qualify for free caches of emergency supplies if they participate in next year’s drill. The caches, which are valued at $550, are awarded to neighborhood groups that participate in at least two annual drills and host other neighborhood activities. They are funded by the City of Burlingame.

Click here to learn more about the 2020 drill.

Record turnout for our 2019 drill

Nearly 530 individuals turned out for the Burlingame Neighborhood Network’s seventh annual Burlingame Disaster Survival Drill on Saturday, October 12, participating in 32 neighborhood groups throughout the city.  Last year, a total of 432 people took part.

The drill was supported by the Central County Fire Department, the Burlingame Police Department, Burlingame CERTs and local HAM radio operators. Mayor Donna Colson, Vice Mayor Emily Beach, Councilmember Michael Brownrigg, City Manager Lisa Goldman and Kay Coskey, vice president of the Burlingame School District Board of Trustees, also participated.

The drill helped residents learn how neighbors can team up to respond to incidents following a major emergency, when emergency help is likely to be unavailable for at least 72 hours. They also tested an emergency communications network staffed by Ham radio operators that allows neighbors to escalate requests for help from emergency responders and receive official alerts.

You can see a photo from each drill group that submitted photos by scrolling down this page. Click here to see and download lots of photos from the 2019 Drill on Google Photos.

Burlingame's 2018 Drill

A total of 432 Burlingame residents participated in the Citywide Emergency Drill held October 13 in 23 neighborhood groups throughout Burlingame. They learned how to self-organize and support one another during a disaster, and how to send requests for help and receive official notifications via a volunteer Ham radio network.

The drill was featured on NBC Bay Area here.

Organized by the Burlingame Neighborhood Network, the drill was supported by Burlingame CERTs and local Ham radio operators stationed at local elementary schools and the Emergency Operations Center. It was supported by the Central County Fire Department (CCFD) and Burlingame Police Department, whose representatives visited drill sites, along with City Manager Lisa Goldman.

During the drill, participants searched for “incidents” describing emergencies that were planted on people’s lawns and practiced communicating back and forth to their neighborhood base.

Many participants expressed interest in getting CERT training. Information about upcoming CERT classes, as well as “Get Ready” three-hours classes, is posted on CCFD’s website here.

Burlingame's 2017 Drill

More that 330 Burlingame residents participated in the Citywide Emergency Drill held on October 14, 2017. Organized by the Burlingame Neighborhood Network with support from the Central County Fire Department (CCFD), the Burlingame Police Department, CERTs and Ham radio operators, this exercise was, by far, the biggest one we’ve held.

During the 90-minute exercise, groups canvassed blocks in 10 neighborhoods, looking for emergency “incidents” such as fires or gas leaks that were attached to small flags on lawns. They learned how to support one another following a disaster, when residents are advised they may be on their own for 72 hours or longer. They also discovered how to communicate via a Burlingame network staffed by volunteer Ham radio operators that allows them to request and receive help from professional responders – even when normal channels of communication are down.

The drill was organized by the Burlingame Neighborhood Network (BNN) with support from local HAM radio operators, Burlingame CERTs, the Central County Fire Department (CCFD) and the Burlingame Police Department.

Central County Fire representatives and Police Chief Eric Wollman stopped by during the drill and answered questions. Vice Mayor Michael Brownrigg served as scribe for the Adeline Drive group, and Council Member Emily Beach and City Manager Lisa Goldman paid visits.

You can access and download photos of our 2017 Citywide Emergency Drill here.

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Photos from 2019 Burlingame Disaster Survival Drill