CERT Community Emergency Response Team - ITS Tactical

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CERT Community Emergency Response Team

By Bryan Black

final_cert_logoI recently rogered up for CERT Training here in the D/FW area after reading about it in Neil Strauss’ book, Emergency.

The classes start in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to helping out however I can.

If you’re not familiar with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), allow me to enlighten you.

The CERT Program educates 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 also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

The fact is that in an major disaster/emergency, help is not coming. Communities depend on CERT volunteers to supplement first responders when these situations occur.

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 be initially 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 bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

I’d highly recommend that each one of you look into the local CERT programs in your area and volunteer, at the very least you’ll get some great training that will better prepare you in an emergency situation.

Anyone here have experience with CERT?

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  • I work with my local CERT team as well, and it’s great. A lot of the stuff they teach is common sense, but it’s good to still be shown and to practice these things. You can never have too much practice.

  • Jeff

    I am in the DFW area and would be interested in your CERT course. Can you post details about the training? Thanks!!

  • The CERT concept is invaluable, though individual training experiences will vary. Like any instructional program, instructor, equipment and facility are key variables that will affect how much you take away from the experience. For the high-speed/low-drag ITS Tactical crowd, sections of CERT may be underwhelming. Overall, though, the class can help connect the dots on local awareness, disaster readiness, and fostering a tactical sense that’s more FD/Rescue than PD/MIL. I recommend it, and I hope your experience is positive enough that CERT and volunteerism eventually become one of your regular categories.

    • I assume that this comment was targeted to me. I’d just like to defend myself a bit by saying: I completely agree on its invaluableness to a community. CERT and volunteerism is already one of my regular categories of participation.[/defensivecomment]

      Like you said, the instructional program and resources are major variables in any organization, and that would be the only flaw for our local program. It is still a great help to the community and is definitely doing it’s part to help prepare the citizens for disaster.

    • MooKoo,

      Correct me if I’m wrong Erik… I think Erik was mentioning that he hopes that we make volunteerism and CERT a regular category that we write about on ITS.


    • I think you might be right Bryan. I’m so used to having to defend my stance on the Internet that sometimes I don’t realize it when there are actually positive comments coming in.

      Apologies if I came off harsh.

    • Hello MooKoo,

      No targeting, amigo! Bryan is spot on – CERT and volunteerism is a worthy subject, and one where continued discussion about programs and standards is definitely warranted.

      And you’re right, by the way: I teach CERT classes, and you can never have too much practice. We regularly invite past graduates to participate as convergent volunteers to assist each new group with their final exercise. It’s just another way to knock the rust off.

  • These are Great Programs Erik! I’m not involved with a “CERT” program in general. I’ve Worked in EMS the last 5yrs in a Small Northern California Coastal Town that had a devastating Tsunami in the 60’s. We do a lot of training in our Small Town & through My employer I’ve been able to get some great training. This last year I got My Certifications in
    N.I.M.S. 700a,
    S.E.M.S 300/400.
    T.E.E.X. came up from Texas & did a
    “Wide Area Search” class.
    & We also had a “Chem Pak” Training & Drill
    as well. Not everybody has access to some of the training above. But I think its great more Opportunities are now out there for people to get the Emergency Preparedness they need & that so many People are willing to get this training & are eager to help when “Incidents” come about.

    I have to say I’m Really Enjoying I.T.S. & the information & People that are present here.
    weather we be Mil. L.E. E.M.S. Fire Or just knowledgeable through the pursuit of experience
    …Ok I write to much sometimes, Im out…ha ha

  • Just thought I would also chime in on getting involved. I went through CERT with 5 buddies after reading Emergency too. It was not my ideal way of spending 8 Saturday mornings, but it was totally worth it and we had fun doing it.

    I would highly recommend anyone that has gone through CERT, and even those that haven’t, also go take the all day Red Cross First Aid and CPR Class. The medical in CERT is good, but the Red Cross is way better. What I learned from Red Cross ended up saving my fiance’s life a couple of months later. I was sold for life.

    After the Red Cross class I included a small CRP mask and gloves packet in my EDC Bag. The packet used for the class that Red Cross sells is really cheap and fits easily even into the back pocket of jeans.

    Totally agree with the guys above that mentioned practice. I can’t agree with you guys enough that the stuff covered in any of the classes/volunteer groups must be practiced often. My firearms coach and I were recently talking about this (he is a shooting and tactical instructor for the Secret Service if that helps this carry weight). His quote, “People, whether it be guns, emergency medical, or anything that don’t practice often are just as dangerous – if not more – than people that know nothing.”

  • JLS

    I just completed the second 8 hour Saturday class here in Nashville for CERT. A lot of the information is underwhelming especially if you are up to speed on things with stuff here. I think I about fell asleep going over EDC kits and the various types of disasters that could happen. Still I know a lot of the people in there it really opened their eyes up.

    I will say the First Aid/Triage part of the course was very good here. I agree the full course is definitely worth it. I already have my CPR + AED but recommend that too for anyone who doesn’t.

    Some of the topics are things a lot of us know, but I came away with it learning some new stuff so I feel it is worth it. I’m definitely going to get involved here locally because there is additional training that they do. Even though some of the stuff may seem “beneath” some of us, the training is FREE and it doesn’t hurt to get a refresh.

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