MERRAG (pronounced Mirage) utilizes the CERT curriculum to create a network of trained volunteers. These volunteers generally work and live in the Montecito area and are prepared to respond to a community disaster during the critical first 72 hours following an event. Since 1987, the mutual “self-help” organization has been serving Montecito’s 9,000 residents with the guidance and support of the Montecito Fire, Water and Sanitary Districts.
In 1993 MERRAG became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit public benefit corporation, sponsored by Montecito Fire Protection District, Montecito Sanitary District, and Montecito Water District. Subsequent tax deductible gifts have allowed MERRAG to acquire equipment and other resources for use in disaster recovery. Now more than 60 institutions and home owners associations, plus MANY individuals at large, comprise this volunteer network.
MERRAG is a 501(c)(3) organization Tax ID: 77-0339622.
MERRAG's Mission Statement:
The Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group (MERRAG) is an official volunteer auxiliary of Montecito's three public service agencies. We exist to provide crucial personnel and communications support in the event of a community emergency.
Readiness - We offer training and certification for response and recovery teams, and community preparedness education. We maintain the Community Emergency Radio Systems (AM-band and two-way) and the Community Emergency Resource Inventory.
Response - In the event of a community emergency we co-operate the fire department's District Operations Center. This entails the provision of staffing, supplementary radio communications, and field support including triage, traffic management, and damage assessment.
Recovery - We assist the districts and the citizenry in documentation and process support for post-disaster asset recovery.
- Support the Fire District in its response to life threatening situations;
- Coordinate support activities with outside emergency services;
- Muster and organize local resources;
- Maintain a reliable private radio network and pager communication system;
- Train community volunteers in disaster preparedness and recovery;
- Minimize property damage through education;
- Assist with community damage assessment;
- Help qualify for disaster relief funds.
Infrastructure in place:
- Membership connected by two way radio network of 24 institutions and associations
- Mobile communication vehicle with emergency power for service anywhere in the Montecito community
- Emergency supplies and equipment
MERRAG Executive Board
January through December 2012
Mike McCaleb, Montecito Sanitary District
Warner Owens, Riven Rock Neighborhood
2ND Vice President
Cate Wilkins, Eucalyptus HOA
Geri Simmons Ventura, Montecito Fire District
Sue Ziliotto, La Vuelta HOA
Sam Frye, Petan Company
Phyllis Marble, Olive Mill Neighborhood Group
Board Members at Large
Sandie Owens, Riven Rock Neighborhood
Carrie Hafner, At Large
Rachel Moore, Chelham Way HOA/Westmont
Ted Urschel, At Large