CERT – What is it?
Community Emergency Response Teams, or CERT, is a concept developed in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department. They recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. Accordingly, the LAFD decided that some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of citizens to survive until emergency personnel could arrive. Thus, CERT teams were created to provide vital services in the absence of emergency responders. Today, more than 38 states and several foreign countries have instituted the CERT system.
The events of September 11 will never be forgotten; also not forgotten is how the spirit of America was awakened that day and citizens came forth to volunteer their services. President George W. Bush harnessed this spirit of volunteerism with the Citizen Corps program. CERT is a part of the Citizen Corps Program.
Role of CERTs Emergency
CERTS have been used to:
- Search for lost or kidnapped children
- Staff Emergency Operations Centers and monitor events
- Emergency Operations Center security; driving, information, assisting disabled visitors and minor first aid
- Manage “spontaneous/convergent” volunteers
- Assist Red Cross and other relief organizations on mass care
How Can I Join?
To become a CERT member you must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license.
If you want to volunteer your services and become trained to protect yourself and families from disasters; natural or man-made, become a CERT member.
For more information, contact your local or county emergency management coordinator, Joseph Sever @ 455-8770 ex 361; or the Cumberland County CERT Coordinator, Elmer Gould @ 609-774-6362.
visit our website: www.state.nj.us/njoem.