Emergency Response for a Disaster: CERT

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group of individuals that are trained to help in their community or workplace after a disaster occurs. These individuals will fill the need for emergency services before first responders can arrive.

If a large disaster happens, the need for emergency services will be great. It is anticipated that first responders may be delayed in reaching some areas. That’s when trained, community members helping themselves, their family and their neighbors will be vital.

The CERT concept was first developed in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) as it planned for the possibility of widespread destruction from earthquakes. Just two years later, the Whittier Narrows earthquake illustrated the need for trained citizens who could meet the emergency needs of those around them after a disaster.

CERT members must undergo training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue team organization, and disaster medical operations. Training programs are conducted by CERT teams, municipalities, or local Fire and EMS departments.

CERT training was first made available by FEMA in 1993. To learn more about CERT programs, visit the FEMA website. To find a CERT training program in your area, visit the Citizen Corps website and enter your zip code.

Additional CERT training is available in April for Program Managers and Trainers. Visit theEmergency Management Institute for more information.

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