Community Emergency Response Team Background
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are formed by members of a neighborhood or workplace who want to be better prepared for the hazards that may threaten their communities.
Initially, CERT programs were developed to assist communities in taking care of themselves in the aftermath of a major disaster when first responders are overwhelmed or unable to respond because of communication or transportation difficulties.
CERT programs have grown popular throughout the country and have developed into more than originally envisioned. They are a vital part of community preparedness and response capability. CERT programs have been used for:
- Distribute and/or install smoke alarms and batteries to the elderly and disabled.
- Assist with evacuations and traffic control.
- Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.
- Supplement staffing at special events, such as parades.
- Act as victims in training exercises.
- CERTs are an investment of local government's time and resources. To capitalize on this investment, program sponsors can view CERT members as a volunteer resource that can assist with public safety activities. Such an approach will actively involve members in serving their communities beyond disaster response and add value to the CERT program.