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Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards (e.g., fire, flood, power outage) 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. Other topics include putting together your own disaster kit, disaster psychology and disaster incident management.

By becoming a CERT team member, you will receive the training you need to do “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” in the event of an emergency. Volunteers are needed in your neighborhood, so sign up for CERT classes today so that we can make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared!


The training involves approximately 18-20 hours of classroom instruction. This training consists of interactive skills-based training, lectures and concludes with a hands-on training exercise. Class registration is free and open to community members who are 18 years or older. Teenagers between 16 to 17 years old may participate in the training if accompanied by a parent/guardian.


Please complete the following FEMA Independent Study Courses in the order below:

  • IS-317.a: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams
  • IS-315.a: CERT and the Incident Command System
  • IS-100.c: Introduction to the Incident Management System
  • IS-700.b: Introduction to the National Incident Management System

You will need to present these four certificates at the beginning of class. It is important that you complete these courses ahead of time as the accelerated class will only review material these courses cover so we can concentrate on the practical exercise and experience drawn from that.

In addition, you may also consider taking these two courses to gain a better understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Response Framework (NRF).

  • IS-200.c: Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response
  • IS-800.d: National Response Framework: An Introduction

It is recommended for CERT Volunteer Type 2 – National Qualification Standards (NQS) that volunteers complete 100, 200, 700 and 800.

How Does CERT Help in the Community?

Once a disaster strikes, CERT team members are encouraged to check on their families, neighbors, and home first. CERT members then assemble at a pre-designated area and organize into teams. These teams spread out into their neighborhood or workplace to:

  • Serve as the eyes and ears to local emergency managers.
  • Manage utilities and put out small fires.
  • Treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock.
  • Provide basic medical aid.
  • Search for and rescue victims safely.

One primary safety reminder is that CERT volunteers DO NOT self-deploy in their areas. All activities are coordinated through the local CERT Program Manager.