Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
You Can't Predict, But You Can Prepare!
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates citizens about emergency preparedness and trains them in basic emergency response skills that can be used at home, in the community, at work or anyplace an emergency may occur. CERT members:
- Promote emergency preparedness
- Provide immediate assistance to victims until emergency responders arrive
- Give critical support to first responders
- Provide help in the immediate period follow an emergency
This program enables individuals to help their families, neighbors and colleagues prepare for, respond to and recover within their neighborhood and our community.
If any emergency threatens or occurs, do you...
- Know how to turn off the gas?
- Know how to safety turn off the power?
- Know how to administer first aid?
- Know what actions to take to survive an active shooter situation?
- Have provisions for living outside your home for a length of time if the structure is compromised or you must evacuate?
- Have enough supplies, including water, to sustain your family and pets for up to three weeks in a major event?
- Have enough of the right supplies to survive at your workplace or in your automobile if needed?
- What is CERT?
CERT training is designed to prepare you to help yourself and others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. In a major disaster or emergency, professional emergency responders will not be able to help everyone immediately. Those resources will likely be overwhelmed. CERT training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available or are delayed. CERTs respond in the time immediately after a disaster. CERT is a bridge between the event and the arrival of professional responders.
- Why is CERT important?
Basic skills applied rapidly after a disaster can save 40% or more of injured disaster survivors who may not otherwise have survived or would have been more severely injured if they had to wait for the arrival of professional responders. Volunteers will be on the scene well before professional responders and their actions can make a difference as they can render rapid, life-saving assistance.
CERT training teaches techniques for volunteers to provide assistance safely and effectively, without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.
- How did CERT start?
In September 1985, an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred in Mexico City. It killed more than 10,000 people and injured more than 30,000. Mexico City had no training program for citizens prior to the disaster. However, large groups of volunteers organized themselves and performed light search and rescue operations. Volunteers are credited with more than 800 successful rescues; unfortunately, more than 100 of these untrained volunteers died during the rescue operation and many more were seriously injured.
The City of Los Angeles deployed rescue teams to assist in Mexico City. It became apparent that a plan to train volunteers to help themselves and others was needed as an essential part of overall preparedness, survival and recovery.
The City of Los Angeles was the first to put such a training program together in 1985-86. In 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded the program to include all hazards and made it available to communities nationwide. As of 2011, 50 states, three territories and many foreign countries are using the CERT training model.
The James City County CERT program began in 2003. Since its inception, JCC CERT has trained 449 residents.
James City County has neighborhood teams active in Stonehouse, Colonial Heritage, Riverview Plantation, Ford’s Colony, Kingsmill, Patriot’s Colony, St. George’s Hundred, Governor’s Land, and Williamsburg Community Chapel.
- What will I learn in CERT training?
CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference.
The CERT program will teach you how to:
- Prepare yourself, your family, your pets, and your home for emergency situations
- Develop basic emergency plans for your home, workplace, and automobile
- Manage home utilities and suppress small fires
- Recognize and minimize hazards in your home
- Treat life-threatening conditions
- Provide basic mass-casualty first aid
- Search for and rescue survivors safely
- Organize as a neighborhood team to prepare for and respond to disasters
- How do I join CERT?
CERT is an all-abilities program. Anyone age 18 or over can become a member and the training is offered at no charge. Sign up for the next CERT Academy by completing the online registration form.
- Damage Assessment Form (PDF)
Each volunteer gathers information as they travel from their home en route to the incident command site.
- Personnel Resources Form (PDF)
Responsibility: Incident commander/scribe. This form is used to keep track of all volunteer personnel on scene, including arrival and departure times. This is the personnel accountability form.
- Incident Command Log (PDF)
Responsibility: Incident commander, who may also be the scribe. Keep track of major events, assignments, official communication to 911, Emergency Operations Center (EOC), other significant calls (i.e. to Animal Control). This form may be used in very large incidents or with very large teams.
- Patient Assessment Form (PDF)
Responsibility: Treatment area CERT volunteers. Every patient is assessed; this form is completed and maintained as the patient’s condition changes. At some point, we may have actual tags to place on the patient. In the meantime, this form will be used to maintain patient information.
- Treatment Area Log (PDF)
Responsibility: Treatment area leader. Patient assessment forms are kept on every patient including those tagged as green. Treatment Area Leader maintains a log of major events as needed. The log is a summary of what happens in the treatment area.
- Situation Report (PDF)
When CERT is activated, 911 is notified first. The EOC is notified immediately afterward. This form summarizes the information required by the EOC as the situation de