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. Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services.
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. Factors such 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. This individual 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.


The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.
These groups can 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 following a disaster.
The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
Fourth, organize teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.
Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster.



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