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Local government agencies prepare for everyday emergencies. However, emergencies or disasters can overwhelm the community's immediate response capability. In fact, we can predict that emergency services will not meet immediate needs following a major disaster, especially if there is no warning as in an earthquake or major fire, while State and Federal resources can activate to assist, there may be a delay for them to reach those who need them.

The primary reason for CERT training is to give people the decision making, organizational, and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors and associates while waiting for help. The CERT program is designed to help educate people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

CERT benefits the community because the people who go through the CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace. If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members call apply the training learned to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERT provides useful information to responders and supports their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site.

There are many jobs within CERT for someone who wants to be involved and help. Following a disaster, CERT members are needed for documentation, comforting others, logistics, etc. Non-disaster related team activities may include keeping databases, developing a website, writing a newsletter, planning activities, helping with social events and organizing exercises and other activities, such as parades, sporting events, concerts and more.

In conclusion, CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.  CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference.  Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling breathing, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

*Click HERE for the CERT Liability Guide

*Click HERE for the CERT ByLaws

*Click HERE for the E.O.P.

*Click HERE for the BBP Haz Comm Policy