Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)


Community Emergency Response Team training is a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that educates citizens about the hazards they face in their community and trains them in lifesaving skills. If needed following a disaster, these citizen-responders use their training as part of a neighborhood or workplace team to help others when professional responders are overwhelmed or not immediately available. CERT members provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources when they arrive. 
CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference.CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

Purpose of the Program

CERT promotes a partnering between emergency management and response agencies and the people in the community that they serve. The goal is to train members of neighborhoods and workplaces in basic response skills. Then CERT teams are formed and maintained as part of the emergency response capability for their area.

If there is a natural or man-made event that overwhelms or delays the community's professional responders, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during their CERT training. These skills can help save and sustain lives until help arrives. CERT members also can volunteer for special projects that improve a community's preparedness. 

How It Works

The basic 24-hour CERT training for community groups is delivered in 3 hour sessions, one evening a week over an 8 week period. Through training, citizens will learn how to prepared for disaster emergencies, put out small fires, provide basic medical aid by treating the three killers in opening airways, control bleeding, and treating for shock; light search for and rescue victims safely; organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and disaster psychology.  A Terrorism Module is included to educate CERT members about CBRNE, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-yield Explosives agents.  The 8th week concludes with a mock disaster exercise where participants practice the skills they learned throughout the course.