Volunteers conduct virus survey in Del Mar

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Members of Del Mar’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) are surveying the city’s neighborhoods to ask questions related to the coronavirus.
(Courtesy of the City of Del Mar)

Members of Del Mar’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) are heading into the city’s neighborhoods to find out about residents’ possible exposure to the coronavirus—and what their needs might be.

With oversight from public safety personnel, the volunteers began Friday, March 27, to go door to door. Residents can identify them from their Disaster Relief Worker identification cards, and CERT vests and helmets. They’ll also be wearing personal protective equipment. They will not enter homes or apartments, and will keep themselves at least 6 feet away from residents.

They will ask residents four questions, and the responses will be anonymous. No personal information will be asked or collected. The questions are:

•Are there any needs in your household that you have been unable to meet?

• In the past 48 hours, has anyone in your household had a fever, cough, muscle aches or flu-like symptoms?

•In the past 14 days, has anyone in your household been diagnosed with or been in close contact with someone that has the COVID-19 virus?

• Is anyone in your household in isolation or been quarantined?

The polling is aimed at residents who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. It’s part of a larger effort to gather data from all over San Diego County that will help the region’s emergency response efforts. CERT teams in Encinitas and Solana Beach began gathering data in their cities earlier in the week.

Del Mar’s CERT members are trained in basic emergency skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations, which allows them to help professional first responders during disaster situations. The program is modeled after the Los Angeles Fire Department’s program.

To learn more about Del Mar’s program or sign up for training, contact Charles “Cap” Pinney at (858) 354-5319or For information about Encinitas’ program, visit To find out whether a CERT team exists in your city, contact your nearest fire department.

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