The CERT concept dates back to 1985, when the Los Angeles Fire Department recognized that in the early stages of a disaster - earthquakes in particular - local emergency responders would be overwhelmed, and basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of community members to survive until responders or other assistance arrived.
Recognizing the universal value of this program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked in conjunction with the LAFD to make the CERT program applicable to all types of hazards and developed a CERT training program which could be used nationwide and adapted to meet local conditions when the need arose.
The tragic events of September 11 remind us that disaster can strike anywhere or anytime, and that basic safety and disaster survival skills can mean the difference between life and death.
CERT training empowers community members to prepare responsibly and respond appropriately when emergencies occur.
CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
If you are an individual looking to join a local CERT Team, contact your Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator to see if the program is already active in your community, or if a CERT program is being developed.