How To Hold A Great CERT Meeting


Trying to inspire and organize your neighborhood to prepare for an emergency is like trying to sell someone life insurance. “I’d rather not think about it,” is a typical response, often accompanied by a sheepish grin.

But a consistent effort does pay off. Last week we held a meeting of our neighborhood block captains, and around 30 people showed up. It turned out to be one of the best meetings we’ve had.

Action Item:  If you’re planning a get-together, consider incorporating the following ideas.

Changing batteries in handheld radio

Changing batteries in handheld radios

What makes a good meeting?

1. A good reason! In this case, block captains were given new materials for handing out to their neighbors.

2. Good publicity. An article in our neighborhood newsletter, announcement at the Homeowners’ Association meeting, followed by email reminders and flyers hand-delivered to each block captain. (Multiple reminders are essential! It’s like that old saying that people have to see your ad seven times before they buy.)

3. Name tags for everyone. They make you “a part of the group” and make it easier for team members to get to know one another.

4. A role for each person. In this case, each block captain brought his or her radio and we changed out the batteries. (We do it twice a year.)

5. Variety of activities. Attendees changed batteries, watched a short film downloaded from YouTube (while eating popcorn!), and picked up their handouts for their neighbors.

6. Good audio-visual equipment. Our team has invested in a portable speaker that has great sound quality. We hooked up the computer to it when we showed the film, and also used the microphone for training.

The meeting had an agenda, and it was followed.  People got what they came for and were in and out in a tight 60 minutes. They’ll be willing to come out again as a result.

If you are growing a CERT group, consider grabbing a copy of one or both of of Emergency Plan Guide’s “from the trenches” workbooks. They pull ideas from the past 15 years into handy guidebooks. Get details here.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Our third version of Great Meeting Ideas is being assembled now. Sign up for our Advisories below to be sure you get the notice when it comes out!

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