Willow CERT at Sutton Safety Fair

On June 16 th Willow CERT worked to promote Emergency Preparedness at the Sutton Safety Fair.

The event was well attended by both local residents and others passing by on the Glenn Highway.

Attendees and exhibitors were impressed with the diverse exhibits promoting safety and preparedness.

The location of the event on beautiful grounds and in the historic buildings of the wonderful Alpine Historical Park made the experience even more special.

Many families with children stopped by the CERT booth to play the Disaster Trivia Plinko game.


2nd Su Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair on May 5th, 2018

Willow CERT hosted the 2nd Su Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair on May 5,th 2018. The theme of this free, family-friendly event was:  Be Aware and Prepare!


More than 30 exhibitors displayed and demonstrated valuable information regarding safety and emergency preparedness at the Willow Community Center.

This exciting event featured many hands-on, educational activities for all ages. It was especially gratifying to see the children engaged with the informative, enjoyable exhibits.

Inside exhibits included avalanche awareness, aviation safety, wilderness first aid, hands only CPR, signing up for free smoke alarm installation, planning for pets in a disaster, storing food for emergencies, wildfire prevention, earthquake preparedness, developing a personal emergency plan and much more.

Outside, the Willow, Caswell and West Lakes Fire Departments demonstrated safe use of burn barrels, issued burn permits and provided information about how to make our property and homes safer from fires.

Willow and Caswell Fire Dept. also  set up a landing zone outside for a Lifemed helicopter to land and educate people about how evacuations for a medical emergency are accomplished.

MAT SAR Search and Rescue displayed their communication trailer and a team of trained dogs to demonstrate how they search for lost people.

Safe boating and “Josh the Otter” presented vital information about water safety for children and adults.

Willow CERT had an exhibit teaching about how quickly we lose our abilities with cold water immersion. Many brave people sank their hands in a 5 gallon bucket of ice water to learn how difficult it was to retrieve coins from on the bottom.

Bloodbank of Alaska Bloodmobile reported that donations received from  volunteers and attendees at this Fair were sufficient to potentially save 36 Alaskan lives.

This important event was sponsored by AARP, Mat Su Borough Emergency Services Dept, Mat Valley Federal Credit Union and MTZ tools.

Willow CERT will host the next Su Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair in 2020.

Nationwide Red Cross “Sound the Alarm” Event

On May 12th, Willow CERT teamed up with the Red Cross and Willow and Caswell Fire Dept. to install smoke alarms throughout Willow as part of the nationwide Red Cross “Sound the Alarm” event.


The blended teams visited 12 homes, educated the residents about fire safety and installed 38 smoke detectors.

It’s not too late to get free smoke alarms installed in your home.

Call the Red Cross at 907-357-6060, choose option 3.



WillowCERT Newsletter

CERT Basic Training – Willow Style

Willow CERT completed its first ever 20 hr Basic CERT Training.  32 students, ranging in age from 1 to 78.  Wonderful group, very honored to have them participate.  Highlight of graduation was the support from our local and state government officials, Borough Assemblyman -Randall Kowalke, Borough Director of Emergency Services – Otto Feather, Borough Emergency Program Manager – Casey Cook and a representative from the Alaska Dept of Public Safety representing the Governors office – Hans Brinke.  Thank you to all the students, victim volunteers for our exercise, to our current CERT team, our sponsors MTA,MEA, MVFCU, WACO, Red Cross, LEPC, Willow Fire, our CERT liasion Heather Ridge and Casey Cook who believed in us.

 Trunk or Treat

Willow CERT worked to promote safety in the parking lot for a fantastic trunk or treat at the Willow Community Center for the 3rd year.  Thanks to the Willow Library, Fire Dept,  EMS all the wonderful community members that make this a fun and safe night for the families.

Field Trip to LDS Food Storage

 Willow C.E.R.T. was invited to participate in a tour of the L.D.S. food warehouse on Bodenburg Loop in Palmer. We were joined by other C.E.R.T. members from other parts of the borough. They came from the borough team and the Wasilla team was there as well. Roger, one of our hosts, explained that the L.D.S. warehouse was required to keep and maintain a ham radio station at the warehouse by the church. We were given a short tour of the facility and the history of the farm. After this, we were invited to shop at the store that is open to anyone.   By Mark Allan

Willow CERT participates at Thanksgiving Blessing

While most of the the Willow CERT team spent their Satuday working at the training class one lone CERT member volunteered his time helping at the annual Thanksgiving Blessing hosted at the Methodist Church.

Matanusk-Susitna Borough Recognized citizens for CERT

On Dec 6, Otto Feather, Director of Emergency Services, attended the WACO meeting to recognize two of the members who have made significant contributions to the Borough’s emergency preparedness programs.  Kathy Watkins and Brenda McCain were both awarded Challenge Coins for their contributions.



Alaska winter readiness guide: Tips for preparing your home, vehicle and self

This article was originally posted at ADN here by Laurel Andrews.

Winter weather is settling in over Alaska. Are you ready? Here are tips for preparing your home and vehicle, and taking care of yourself during the winter months.


Protect water lines from freezing. Disconnect water hoses from the outside of your house and make sure outdoor water spigots are closed. Make sure you know where the shutoff valves are in your house, so if pipes break, you can turn the water off.


Winterize your home. Check for drafts around water and heating lines, and insulate if you need to. Make sure windows are well sealed. Now is the time to patch up any leaks and replace shingles or metal fasteners on your roof. Clean the gutters so spring runoff moves away from your home unobstructed.


(More information on home energy efficiency can be found online at Cold Climate Housing Research Center and Alaska Housing Finance Corp. Check out this interactive Northern homes page for more tips. Also, some Alaskans may qualify for AHFC’s free weatherization program.)


Have maintenance and inspections done on your heating sources, like furnace and wood stove. Stock up on wood or other fuel.


Along with working smoke alarms, make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed and have working batteries. Carbon monoxide is odorless and fatal and was responsible for the deaths of at least two Alaskans in the past few months in both Southcentral and the Interior.

The Alaska Department of Homeland Security recommends getting a seven-day emergency kit together for potential disasters, including winter storms that may knock out power.


The kit should include 1 gallon of water per person, per day; food with a long shelf life; flashlights; and first-aid kits. Also recommended are any medications your family needs; a battery-operated radio; a small tool kit, plus items like duct tape and rope; hygiene products, including some bags and a bucket for managing human waste; a heat source that’s safe for indoor use; cellphone chargers; emergency blankets; a whistle and signal mirror; and a generator.


The agency also recommends having an emergency go-bag, which you can grab should you need to leave your home in a hurry. One thing that’s often overlooked? Critical documents, such as birth certificates and insurance information. Having these on hand will speed up your recovery time, should you need to file claims after a disaster.


Lastly, make a plan with your family on what to do in case of an emergency, and afterward.