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  • Shirley Harriman

Antelope Valley Community Emergency Response Team, holds Grid Search Training Exercise in Lake Los A

AV CERT holds Grid Search Training Exercise in LLA

Lake Los Angeles – Vicinity of 180th Street East and East Avenue P - Saturday morning May 19 at 8:00am a training exercise for the Antelope Valley Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) gathered on the acreage of LLA CERT member Raymond Harrell to conduct a mock grid search exercise.

The weather was cooperative with light breezes, blue skies and warm temperatures. The preparations and briefing were done with the backdrop of the beautiful buttes and the peacocks giving their opinions in the background. Harrell explained, “The basic scenario we're running is a search for a family in the location their car was located. There will be multiple victims. The CERT members will be given the opportunity to learn the system of a grid search, radio communications, medical evacuation, as well as the Incident Command System. Our goal is to conclude the drill just after 11am. Tom Fischer will be the Incident Commander and the instructor for the grid search is Captain of the Lancaster CERT team is Mark Hagan. I and another Lake LA Squad Leader will lead two teams in a search of the desert. If or when located we'll then have to communicate and coordinate moving the victims to the command post for transport to a medical facility.”

Mark Hagan who was the instructor is with Lancaster CERT as their Team Captain. By profession Mark is a wildlife biologist who normally grid searches for plants and animals and performs wildlife surveys. He was with the Federal government for thirty years and is now a consultant.

Participants were from Rosamond, Palmdale, Lancaster, Lake Los Angeles, Juniper Hills and other parts of the Antelope Valley. Thirty fived people participated.

Prior to the searchers arriving, two CERT members deposited “clues’ such as a comb. Hair b rush, blue water bottle, a pair of flip flops, baby’s toy, wallet, cell phone and mustard packet to name some. Each item was logged as to its location. Three mannequins – one man, one woman and one infant – were also placed out in the desert in the search area.

Chuck Tedeschi did the comm check on the radios. Hagan briefed the two teams saying, “Let’s see your water! On a search you travel lightly. In a field exercise you must be cognizant of your surroundings. When you hear someone shout Coca-Cola that means “It’s the real thing” meaning you have a snake bite or some other serious issue. Travel lightly with water, bandages, flashlight and so forth. We are not out here backpacking. Documentation is critical. Be sure you have paper and pencils.” Searches are expensive and manpower intensive. Treat everything you find as a crime scene, flag what you see and do not contaminate the scene.” Chuck Tedeschi said, “It went very well. We found the victims in record time. Everything went as planned and all went well. The victims were given proper medical care. One had a broken leg, one was ambulatory and the baby was found to be ok. I was impress that Mr. Bostwick came out to see us. He is interested in the community and it shows.”

A special guest arrived to observe. Mr. Chuck Bostwick, Assistant Deputy of Supervisor Barger’s office in the Antelope Valley came to observe and lend the support of the Supervisor’s office.

For more information on CERT, please go to their website: There is frequent training scheduled and are posted on the website.

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