Learn More About CERT

What is CERT?

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is 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. For additional information, you can get an online introduction to CERT via independent distant learning. "Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams", IS- 317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members. It has six modules with topics that include an Introduction to CERT, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations, and Search and Rescue. It takes between six and eight hours to complete the course. Those successfully finishing it will receive a certification of completion and .8 CEUs from the Independent Study Office.

The IS-317 can be taken by anyone interested in CERT. However, to become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by the El Cerrito Fire Department or other local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department.


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:

  • Understand community vulnerability to disasters
  • Prepare their families, homes and businesses for disasters
  • Manage utilities and extinguish small fires
  • Provide basic medical aid
  • Search for and rescue victims safely
  • Learn the psychological aspects of disasters and how to care for people
  • Gain increased terrorism awareness
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
  • and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts

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