News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 02/03/2011
Subject :

Palo Alto’s Trained Disaster-Preparedness Volunteers Change Group Name to ”Palo Alto CERT”
Contact : Rich Mallonee, Emergency Manager, Fire Department    650-617-3164
Palo Alto, CA – Rich Mallonee, Interim Emergency Manager for the City of Palo Alto, announced today that the volunteers trained through the Palo Alto Neighborhood Disaster Activities (PANDA) curriculum will now be known under a new name, "Palo Alto CERT" (Community Emergency Response Team). To date, nearly 900 Palo Alto citizens have attended the 22-hour course and become credentialed volunteers who can assist during a local disaster. 

"With the desire to eliminate name confusion and be recognized for the extensive CERT disaster preparedness training that they undergo, the PANDA community has elected to retire the name PANDA and henceforth be known as Palo Alto CERT," said Rich Mallonee, Emergency Manager with the City of Palo Alto. "This name change also links the group to similarly trained volunteers throughout the country."

In 1999 the City of Palo Alto began educating its citizens about disaster preparedness through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) curriculum; participants named themselves as members of the Palo Alto Neighborhood Disaster Activities (PANDA) team.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

The Palo Alto Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic course is free of charge if you live or work in Palo Alto or Stanford. If you would like to register or have questions, please call the Fire Department's Office of Emergency Services at 650-617-3197 or visit