Community Emergency Preparedness Academy
CEPA was conceived early in 2003 as a collaborative effort between the City of Mission Viejo, the Orange County Fire Authority, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Mission Hospital, Medix Ambulance and the American Red Cross.
Assuming there is a likelihood that neighbors may be in the area when an emergency occurs, the academy is uniquely organized through the Neighborhood Watch Program with the intent of preparing neighbors to work together before, during, and after disasters to minimize injury and facilitate recovery. The academy is a 32-hour certified curriculum that follows FEMA guidelines for citizen emergency response teams. It is taught by emergency personnel from the collaborative agencies. It includes law and fire disaster operations, fire safety, light search & rescue, CPR/First Aid/AED certifications, basic crisis intervention and neighborhood mobilization. The sessions include hands-on exercises in which students extinguish real fires, extricate bodies from heavy debris and treat mock injuries in response to a simulated earthquake.
Residents are encouraged to establish their own preparedness, as well as prepare to work with neighbors and function as a team to meet their group’s needs in a time of disaster. In so doing, Neighborhood Watch groups create vital support systems that will be activated in case of a disaster in the community. The program is also active in the South County Cities of Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Santiago Canyon, Silverado Canyon, Trabuco Canyon and Aliso Viejo.
In addition to CEPA, Neighborhood Watch provides on-going trainings in different aspects of preparedness such as Neighborhood Preparedness Planning, Animal Safety, and Emergency Water Needs.
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