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Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)


Become a CERT Volunteer!
Be Part of an Organized Team Trained to Protect & Save Families & Communities


Community Emergency Response Teams or CERT, is a concept developed in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department. They recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. Accordingly, the LAFD decided that some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of citizens to survive until emergency personnel could arrive. Thus, CERT teams were created to provide vital services in the absence of emergency responders. Today, more than 38 states and several foreign countries have instituted the CERT system.

The events of September 11 will never be forgotten; also not forgotten is how the spirit of America was awakened that day and citizens came forth to volunteer their services. President George W. Bush harnessed this spirit of volunteerism with the Citizen Corps program. CERT is a part of the Citizen Corps Program.

On-Line Demonstration

Click here to view an on-line Flash Demo about the CERT Program

Related Public Service Announcements

Click here to view CERT Public Service Announcement

Click here to view the Neighborhood Watch Program Public Service Announcement

Both of these announcements will require the Windows Media Player.  Click here to download a free copy.

Course Overview

The CERT training consists of a minimum of 20 hours of instruction.   Classes are taught by emergency responders, including firefighters, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel from your community.

The course includes the following:

Session I: Disaster Preparedness
Introduction to disasters specific to the community, and the impact of disaster on infrastructure.

Session II: Disaster Fire Suppression
Identify and reducing potential fire hazards and basic fire suppression

Session III: Disaster Medical Operations (Part I)
Treatment strategies for life-threatening conditions and principles of triage.

Session IV: Disaster Medical Operations (Part II)
Head-to-toe patient assessment and treatment for various injuries.

Session V: Light Search & Rescue Operations
Techniques for sizing up and searching, lifting, cribbing and removing victims; rescue safety.

Session VI: Disaster Psychology & Team Organization
The post disaster emotional environment will be discussed. CERT organization, decision making and documentation.

Session VII: Terrorism
A brief overview of terrorism weapons. Identifying targets in an area and discuss time/distance/shielding.

Session VIII: Final Exercise
Disaster Simulation realistic to your community.

CERT Training will teach Participants to:

  • Describe the types of hazards most likely to affect their homes and communities.
  • Describe the function of CERT and their roles in immediate response.
  • Take steps to prepare themselves for disaster.
  • Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in their homes and workplaces.
  • Work as a team to apply basic fire suppression strategies, resources, and safety measures to extinguish a burning liquid.
  • Apply techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating shock.
  • Conduct triage under simulated conditions.
  • Perform head-to-toe assessments.
  • Select and set up a treatment area.
  • Employ basic treatments for various wounds.
  • Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations.
  • Describe the most common techniques for searching a structure.
  • Use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extrication.
  • Describe ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue.

Role of CERTs in an Emergency

CERTS have been used to:

  • Search for lost or kidnapped children
  • Staff Emergency Operations Centers and monitor events
  • Emergency Operations Center security; driving, information, assisting disabled visitors and minor first aid Manage “spontaneous/convergent” volunteers
  • Assist Red Cross and other relief organizations on mass care
How Can I Join?

To become a CERT member you must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license.

If you want to volunteer your services and become trained to protect yourself and families from disasters; natural or man-made…….
Become a CERT member.

For more information, contact:
Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management
(609) 407-6743 or E-Mail:

Or register on-line at:

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This page was last updated as of  Thursday, March 28, 2019
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