What is CERT?

Tuesday August 2, 2022

What is CERT?

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT members are volunteers in their community who are trained to respond during disasters when local agencies may be overwhelmed. The LAFD CERT Program describes CERT as:


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your neighborhood in an emergency situation. 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. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger. In the CERT training, citizens learn to:
·       manage utilities and put out small fires,
·       treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock,
·       provide basic medical aid,
·       search for and rescue victims safely,
·       organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
·       and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.


                (LAFD CERT)


CERT History

CERT began in 1985 when a group of Los Angeles officials went to Japan to study earthquake preparedness plans. They realized that the Japanese had taken extensive steps to train entire neighborhoods in one aspect of disaster response. Neighborhood teams were trained on fire suppression, light search and rescue, first aid and evacuation. In September of the same year, an LA team went to Mexico City to investigate a massive earthquake. They found that while volunteers had aided in over 800 rescues, there were more than 100 untrained volunteers that died during the rescue attempt. This indicated that the volunteers needed training to help others, whilst also keeping themselves safe.


In 1986, a pilot program was developed that later became CERT. Today, there is a CERT team in all 50 states with over 2,700 programs nationwide.


CERT Training

“The CERT Basic Training includes research-validated guidance for CERT programs to teach members what to do before, during, and after the hazards their communities may face.  The materials in the training include:
·       Instructor guides
·       Participant manuals
·       Hazard annex slide decks
·       FEMA Independent Study IS-317: Introduction to CERT - This Independent Study (IS) course is an introduction to the CERT program.
·       FEMA Independent Study IS-315: CERT and the ICS - This Independent Study (IS) course introduces CERT leaders to the Incident Command System (ICS), a proven management system used by emergency managers.“ (ready.gov)


CERT training manuals are available on our online store in both digital and physical forms, see all options here.


Get Involved

CERT programs are available across the United States. They are an important part of a community’s ability to respond in emergency situations. If you’re in college, look into Campus CERT or Teen CERT groups in your area. Use FEMA’s “Find a CERT” page to locate the local CERT group closest to you.

CERT Gear for Individuals and Teams

ProPac has been providing CERT items for teams and individuals for over 20 years, search our CERT page online to see everything we offer. We also provide a 5% discount on CERT items to CERT teams that register for an account with us, give us a call to get your discount today.