Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Disaster can strike anywhere or anytime, and basic safety and disaster skills can mean the difference between life and Death.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train and equip citizens to be prepared to help themselves and their neighbors in the event of a disaster, crisis, or common emergency.
Why is CERT so important?
In a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as the number of victims, communication system(s) failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services that they have come to expect at a moment's notice by dialing 9-1-1.
People will have to rely on eachother for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs. One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other.
This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved more than 800 people. However, almost 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training and public education.
What can we do to help?
If we can predict that emergency services will not meet immediate needs following a major disaster, especially if there is no warning, and people will spontaneously volunteer, what can the government do to prepare citizens for this eventuality?
1. Present facts about what to expect following a major disaster in terms of immediate services.
2. Give the message about individual responsibility for mitigation and preparedness.
3. Training individuals in needed life saving skills, with the emphasis on decision-making skills, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.
4. Organize teams so that these individuals become an extension of first responder services, offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.
How can CERT Help?
C.E.R.T. members are better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that can help improve the safety of the community!
Who teaches the CERT Curriculum?
The Orange CERT course is taught in town by a trained team of professional first responders who have completed a course conducted by the State Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Training for CERT instructors include disaster preparedness and psychology, fire suppression, advanced first aid and medical operations, search and rescue, the characteristics of biological, nuclear, chemincal, and incendiary events, and team organization and deployment.