Community Emergency Response Team

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The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. Citizens are trained 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. Individuals who complete the CERT course will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.

Franklin County is home to four established CERTs, trained through Boles, Pacific, St. Clair, and Washington Fire Departments, totaling over 230 trained individuals. Two additional communities, Sullivan and Union, plan to start teams in 2008. In addition, the Franklin County Citizen Corps Council (FCCCC) was formed in January 2007 to bring the counties CERTs, Fire, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services together to join in planning and preparing for disasters in the community. This also offered an opportunity for CERT members to begin to attend additional training opportunities together and strengthen the CERTs in our county.

How do I register for at CERT course?

Contact the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and leave your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address and you will be contacted when a CERT course is offered in or near your community.

What if I feel I am not capable to do all of the skills that are taught in the CERT course?

Every individual is different and everyone you work with in CERT understands that. We welcome any citizen or group who wants to learn the skills taught in the CERT course for the benefit of their family, business, or community. It is stressed in our training that we understand you may be someone who feels "woozy" around the sight of blood, or who is not physically able to help move someone on a backboard. There will be a role that every individual can fulfill during a disaster or event, from providing food and beverages to responders to triage.

For additional information on Community Emergency Response Teams, click the CERT logo at the top of the page to be directed to a website that will provide additional information and answer your questions about CERT.