History of CERT
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was first developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985, to provide an element of civilian volunteers to assist ‘first responders’ and their local communities during a catastrophic disaster. Since that time, the CERT concept has been expanded on a national level by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States government, as a supported activity under the Citizen Corps Program of FEMA.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the 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. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced. Since 1993, CERT has impacted communities across the country, building essentials skills and capabilities to prepare for and respond to any disaster. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories; each unique to its community but all essential to building a Culture of Preparedness.
The CERT program was designed as a grassroots initiative and specifically structured so that the local and state program managers have the flexibility to form their programs in the way that best suits their communities. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since CERT became a national program.
FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team Program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members:
Learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards
Help organize basic disaster response
Promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community events
Visit our CERT Academy section for information on the CERT training program in the Santa Clara County.