COVID-19 Community Activations

On Tuesday, March 30th at the Miller Library/Thornton Wilder Hall Hamden CERT assisted Quinnipiac Valley Health District with the second session of the 2-part COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic. 

Thank you to our 16 Hamden CERT Members who came out to support the 2nd QVHD COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at the Thornton Wilder Hall. Starting on March 2, 2021, Hamden CERT Members managed many of the Logistical Support Functions like: Medical Screening, Registration and Transport Support for special needs patrons who needed assistance to and from their vehicles. Again, it was an honor to work along with Hamden Fire, the QVHD Team, Quinnipiac University Students, Miller Library and Hamden Senior Center Staff. Special “Thanks” goes out to our members who took a day off from work, to assist our community during this ongoing COVID-19 Emergency.

Again on April 27th, we joined forces again with QVHD Personnel and Hamden Fire Department Members to conduct our 3rd Vaccine Clinic (Johnson & Johnson, 1 shot) at the Keefe Community Center on Pine Street. 

Later in the afternoon, that same day, we assisted the Hamden Community Services and the Hamden BOE with the 17th Community Food Distribution since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.

  


VacClinic2, Fab 4 - Copy
VacClinic2, Reg- Deb, Bill, Vera, Amy
Vaccine Clinic at Keefe, April 27, 2021

Hamden CERT’s COVID-19 Related Activities & Activations, 2020/2021

 

From: November 2020

As we have entered our 9th month of quarantine/sheltering in place and social distancing because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many residents of our town have been impacted by sickness, job loss, business closings, layoffs and home-schooling situations that were never planned for. Food supplies have been minimized because of increased purchases, limited supplies and financial income situations that have been stressed. Because of these trying conditions, the Hamden CERT Program Members have been asked to step up to assist our Hamden Fire and Police Departments, along with many of our other town offices with logistical support.  Because of the many logistical challenges relating to increased traffic and many stressed individuals, Hamden CERT (serving as a division of Hamden Emergency Management) was asked to manage crowds, traffic, distributions and many other circumstances that were brought on by this very difficult time. 

Under some demanding weather conditions that started with snow, to sleet and later to rain back on March 23rd, here is a list of the many incidents that Hamden CERT has and will continue to responded to, when ask to support our town and local services during the COVID-19 National Health Emergency. 

Note:   Since the start of this outbreak, many of our town departments: Hamden Community Services, Hamden Youth Center, the Hamden Mayor’s Office, Hamden Elderly Services, Hamden Board of Education, Hamden Public Works and other local Health, Church & Charitable Organizations have also requested ongoing support from our CERT Program Members. 

To date (November 2020) our program has volunteered over 1198 Service Hours to our community relating to this national health emergency. 

 

Hamden CERT activates to assist Food Distributions during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

(Starting back in March of 2020) 


As we prepared for the two busiest seasons of community events, we found ourselves in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, where every social gathering or community event has been canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future! We also had to postpone the remainder of our Basic Training Class #17 as we were ready to enter our 3rd week of training. We hope to regroup during the summer or at our next regularly scheduled class in September.


As an emergency response team, part of our preparations and training is for mass care, sheltering and points of distribution (POD’s). As we entered our third month of sheltering in place and social distancing, many individuals have been impacted by job loss, business closings, layoffs and home-schooling situations that were never planned for. Food supplies have been minimized because of increased purchases, limited supplies and financial income situations that have been stressed. Because of these trying conditions, we were contacted by Adam Sendroff of our Hamden Community Services and Family Engagement Coordinator Hector Velazquez about setting up a food distribution for families in need. With the assistance of the Mayor’s Office, the CT. Food Bank and Superintendent of Schools Jody Goeler, we went forward in planning our 1st food distribution on March 23rd. Under some difficult weather conditions of snow, sleet and rain that day, we were able to distribute food to over 250 families at the Dunbar Hill School with the assistance of the Board of Education and Hamden Police.

 

As the impact of the COVID-19 continued to increase by the hour, our local community was in need of increased support, so another distribution was planned for April 8th, with a set up day for packaging on April 7th. With the help of the CT. Food Bank, Hamden PD, Christ Bread of Life Parish, National Guard and other volunteers, we were able to support close to 400 families with food to sustain them for the next few weeks. Twenty-two (22) of our Hamden CERT Members Volunteered over 187 Service Hours over the 3 days of preparation and distribution of needed items for close to 700 families! We also have just completed our 3rd distribution on April 27th with 18 of our members helping another 400 families with a variety of food products. It was an honor for our Team Members to be able to assist and reassure our community during these very difficult times. We stand ready for any other needs during this disaster that is affecting all of us and we will get through this together!

 

"Please continue to: Be Safe and Be Smart, we'll get through this together!" 

 

 Points of Distribution (POD’s) for Food Supplies

 

Food Distributions - Starting on March 23rd – Due to the extensive logistical challenges brought on by the COVIID-19 Pandemic, Hamden CERT was requested to activate their team through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure State of CT. Title #28 Coverage for all volunteer CERT Members who supported the operation. In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Section 28‐5, this plan is part of the coordinated and integrated plan and program of statewide civil preparedness. As of December 2020, we have completed 13 Hamden Community Services & Hamden Board of Education Food POD’s. (Point of Distribution) Our Members met on days before the actual distribution, breaking down pallets of food items and pre-packaging the items for the next day distribution. This packaging endeavor which took hours to complete was very manpower intensive, because of the variety of multiple food items that included both perishable and non-perishable items. These packaging operations usually averaged between 2 to 3 hours. 


This logistical challenge for each of the 13 venues, required many different functions during the 4-to-5-hour operation. Separate teams of members were required for set-up for traffic management who later directed hundreds of vehicles into a staging area before they were directed to the distribution area. The venue was held on the campus of the Hamden Middle School that has over 6 acres of property which required 8 to 10 of our members just for the managing of entry, traffic, staging, direction and departure of vehicles throughout the distribution operation. Other members acted as loaders of items into patrons’ vehicles and a few safety officers overseeing the actual distribution/loading site because of the ongoing traffic concerns and workers safety.


Personal Protective Measures and all CCD Guidelines relating to mandatory protective practices and equipment for all volunteers was required and enforced for all participating individuals. All recommended CCD Precautions were taken by all personnel on all days of this operation relating to all 13 events. We also provided crowd and traffic management assisting Hamden Police Personnel at each event for distributions averaging close to 300 vehicles over a 2-hour period. Traffic gridlock was a major concern since there were lines of traffic that extended back on town streets for many blocks, blocking intersections.  As the seasons changed and nightfall arrived sooner, CERT also supplied auxiliary portable lighting with the use of their on-board lighting and portable units, ensuring safety for all personnel working the site.  This campaign is ongoing and to date, Hamden CERT has totaled 837 Service Hours for this ongoing event. 


Emergency Food Deliveries to Homebound Elderly Citizens

 

Food Deliveries – Starting on March 28th - Hamden CERT Members again were requested and activated through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure State of CT. Title #28 Coverage for all Volunteer CERT Members who assisted the Hamden Elderly Services Department during this multi-week operation. 


This undertaking supported the Hamden Elderly Services Department Office with delivering meals to homebound elderly residents over a 10-week period. Being that the Town of Hamden is over 33 square miles in size, this operation was manpower intensive and multiple CERT Members used multiple vehicles to distribute these most needed supplies to individuals who were either quarantined or not able to get out to purchase groceries on their own. Operations of two - 2 person teams in 2 separate vehicles were part of our Social Distancing Protocol for each distribution.  All recommended CCD Precautions were taken by all personnel during all days of this 11-week operation. 

(This operation has concluded for the time being.) 

Hamden CERT totaled 98 Service Hours for this operation.  

 

Points of Distribution (POD’s) for PPE Supplies for Small Businesses


FEMA Sponsored: PPE Mask Distribution for Small Businesses Owners – Starting on May 6th Hamden CERT was activated through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure State of CT. Title #28 Coverage for all Volunteer CERT Members who became the primary facilitator for the distribution of PPE Face Masks that were distributed to small business owners over a 2-week operation.

 Note:  This operation was part of Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14, Long Term Recovery and Mitigation, of Connecticut’s State Response Framework and all CCD Precautions were adhered to. 

Hamden CERT volunteered services totaling 50 Service Hours for this operation.


FEMA Sponsored: Digital Thermometers Distribution for Small Business Owners – Starting on May 29th Hamden CERT was activated through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure State of CT. Title #28 Coverage for all Volunteer CERT Members who became the primary facilitator for the distribution of Digital Thermometers for small business owners over a 3-week period. 

Note:  This operation was part of Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14, Long Term Recovery and Mitigation, of Connecticut’s State Response Framework and all CCD Precautions were adhered to. 

Hamden CERT volunteered services totaling 87 Service Hours for this operation.

 

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our School System


Early in July, we were notified by the Hamden Board of Education that their graduation ceremony for the Hamden High School Graduation must be held outside with all CDC Social Distancing Protocols in place. The Hamden CERT Program again was activated through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure State of CT. Title #28 Coverage for all Volunteer CERT Members who were participating in this considerable logistical challenge for the graduation of over 400 students! 

On Wednesday July 8th, 18 Members of the Hamden CERT Program were activated to manage the traffic, spacing of vehicles and procession of individual vehicles to a drive-by stage area and let their graduates exit their vehicle, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas, then return to their vehicles. Because of severe weather at the start of this ceremony, CERT Personnel were needed to evacuate the area of the stage and parking area because of a sudden thunder storm that delayed the ceremony for over an hour. 

Because of the required preparations and long-term ceremony, Hamden CERT volunteered over 85 Service Hours during this CCD Mandated Graduation Ceremony

 

Quinnipiac Health District requested support for Drive-thru Flu Clinic.

 

On October 8th - Hamden CERT assisted the Quinnipiac Valley Health District with logistical support for the patrons and many private vehicles that staged for a drive through flu vaccine immunization station. We were requested for this event by our Health Director because of the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the senior members of our community and this clinic was implemented to help reduce anxiety and the growing numbers of COVVID-19 positive cases. 

This operation was part of the ESF #8 (Public Health & Medical) and ESF #14 (Resource Support & Private Sector Coordination) This Mitigation activity included activities that reduced the severity of the ongoing disaster’s (COVID-19) effects on a community. As with preparedness, mitigation is a continuous process and this plan is part of the State of Connecticut Emergency Support Function ESF #14, Long Term Recovery and Mitigation, of Connecticut’s State Response Framework (SRF)

Hamden CERT volunteered 41 Service Hours during this event. 

 As mentioned above, it has been an honor for the members of the Hamden CERT Program to be of assistance to our community during these trying times and also to work alongside the members of the Hamden Fire and Police Departments over the last 9 months. The need for our logistical support as part of State of Connecticut ESF #14 during this national medical emergency was a challenge but also it added a significant distinction for our members who were able to accomplish the many endeavors that were trained for over many years.  

 

Robert J. Freeman Jr.

Deputy Director, Hamden Emergency Management

Coordinator, Hamden CERT Program