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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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.