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. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.

One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other. This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people. However, 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training. If we can predict that emergency services will not meet immediate needs following a major disaster, especially if there is no warning as in an earthquake, and people will spontaneously volunteer, what can government do to prepare citizens for this eventuality?

First, present citizens the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in terms of immediate services. Second, give the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness. Third, train them in needed life saving skills with emphasis on decision making skills, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. Fourth, organize teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.

Why do the CERT Training?

Well, it's like paying for car insurance. You might never need either; you'd hope not to. But if the occasion arises, having the CERT training, just like having car insurance, means you're as ready as you can be to help yourself, your family and your neighborhood


Chapter 1 Disaster Preparedness
   A review and discussion of the types of disasters that can occur in this area. This chapter also discusses some basic steps people can take to lessen the impact of a disaster

Chapter 2 Fire Suppression
   Covers the basic principles of fire suppression. "Hands-On" fire suppression will take place outside. Students will extinguish a real fire using an ABC fire extinguisher.

Chapter 3 Medial (First Aid)
   Focuses on how to provide first aid in a disaster. Techniques may be different that those learned in other first aid courses as this chapter teaches how to use materials at hand to provide first aid for victims of disasters. Students will practice splinting, bandaging, controlling bleeding, and treating various other injuries that may be sustained during a disaster

Chapter 4 Medial (Triage)
   Introduces the Medial Triage System of sorting victims according to severity of injury. Students will be able to exercise their skills in performing a head-to-toe assessment and patient stabilization.

Chapter 5 Light Search and Rescue
   Will show how to enter and search damaged structures and how to safely rescue persons who may have become trapped be falling debris. Students will also learn techniques to lift heavy objects and how to correctly move victims.

Chapter 6 Disaster Psychology
   Teaches how to recognize signs of mental distress following a disaster, and addresses techniques that can be used to assist in their recovery.

Chapter 7 Hazardous Materials
  Gives a brief overview of what hazardous materials are and how to avoid them.

Chapter 8 Terrorism
   Gives description of terrorist weapons and how to prepare your home and workplace in the event of an attack.

CERT training is FREE and open to all age groups. It is a two day class and is taught during the week or on the weekend.

If you or a group are interested in participating in the CERT program, register online below
or contact the CERT Coordinator at 901-636-2602.