Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment’s notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.
CERT is designed as a neighborhood based program. It enables neighborhoods to assess and help themselves until the fire department can arrive. CERT lightens the load on all emergency responders, hospitals.
CERT provides a group of trained people to be used in a number of ways when assigned: volunteers set up and staff shelters for evacuees, fill sandbags, contact neighbors during heat/cold emergencies, and provide outreach into community, etc.
To date there are over 175 Citizen Volunteers trained. Students receive 28 hours of training. Upon completion of the course graduates receive a backpack for CERT response. The program follows a national curriculum developed by FEMA. The six week program is designed to provide the individuals with the basic skills that they will use to respond to their community’s immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster.