SOS Blog

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


About Community Emergency Response Volunteer Teams

An emergency could strike at any moment. Being part of a community that's proactive and prepared increases everyone's chances of survival in a disaster situation. Many communities have existing CERT teams you can join. This blog will provide information about the purpose of CERT, how you can join a team and how SOS Survival Products serves CERTs across the country.

What is CERT?

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The CERT program helps to educate ordinary citizens about disaster preparation for a wide range of natural and man-made emergencies.

CERT members are volunteers that serve to support professional responders in times of extreme disasters when resources are in short supply. During an emergency, trained CERT members will assist professional firefighters, EMT responders and more, taking on non-technical tasks such as assessing and communicating the needs of the community, putting out small, manageable fires, turning off gas supplies and organizing light search and rescue efforts.
CERT volunteers are highly valued members of the community as they free up trained professional responders to focus on the bigger tasks at hand. The teams will self-deploy when the region in which they are located is affected by a disaster, assessing any immediate losses and implementing the skills they've learned to help first responders minimize further loss of property and life. One of the main tasks of the team is to locate mass-casualties that will require professional response and rescue teams to be deployed. CERTs will also assist in evacuations and more long-term functions such as helping to create temporary shelters.

CERT teams coordinate with all levels of emergency authorities within an overarching system that governs emergency response. This system is referred to as the Incident Command System (ICS), and it allows members to easily fit into the emergency assistance architecture. CERT enhances the capabilities of the ICS by allowing professional responders to focus on complex tasks without facing distractions that could be delegated to citizens with minimal training.

When members of a Community Emergency Response Team aren't actively engaged in response, the team organizes fundraisers, engages with the community by holding teaching and recruitment events, and practices emergency response exercises.

How Do I Get Involved?

LA Community Response Team
Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of trained volunteers all across the nation actively engaged in their local CERT chapter program, but in order to keep these efforts going new volunteers are always needed. Most major cities have an existing CERT chapter, which may contain hundreds of members or just a few.

CERT can refer to one of two entities:

1. FEMA's National program, which uses a set of standardized training procedures to train large groups of community members
2. Local chapters that train emergency volunteers with the help of basic disaster response skills that can vary from location to location.

If your city has a CERT program that's been established through FEMA, you can find it here.
If your search via the FEMA link does not return any results for your city, that does not mean your city does not have a CERT program. You can expand your search by browsing your city's official government website, or by performing a quick Google search.

CERT training is designed to help you serve your community, but also to protect your family, friends, neighbors or coworkers if a disaster suddenly strikes. When properly trained, members of the Community Response Program are able to provide critical support to victims and first responders by mobilizing teams to disaster sites quickly and effectively.

During your CERT training, you'll learn a variety of skills designed to mitigate the effects of a disaster as quickly and easily as possible. While FEMA's CERT training abides by a nationally established curriculum that delivers the same core content across all states, your local CERT training may vary. In both instances, CERT training will be free and you are under no obligation to become a part of the program after completing your hours.
The official FEMA CERT training program consists of nine separate units:

1. Disaster Preparedness (2.5 hrs)
2. Fire Safety (2.5 hrs)
3. Disaster Medical Operations part 1 (2.5 hrs)
4. Disaster Medical Operations part 2 (2.5 hrs)
5. Light Search and Rescue Operations (2.5 hrs)
6. CERT Organization (1.5 hrs)
7. Disaster Psychology (1 hr)
8. Terrorism and CERT (2.5 hrs).
9. Course Review and Disaster Simulation (2.5 hrs)

Products for CERT Teams

We carry a wide range of products designed to fulfill the needs of specific duty assignments in evacuations, light search and rescue, first responder assistance and more. This includes command guides and other literature, safety equipment such as hard hats with accompanying identification stickers, identifying safety vests, identification patches, notebooks, backpacks, duffel bags and kits.
Our CERT kits are designed to help volunteer associates make the most of their training. Basic kits include an identifying vest, hardhat, essential protection from dust and debris, a whistle and flashlight. The intermediate kit provides a more utilitarian vest with pockets and reflective stripes as well as a duffle bag and more supplies. The deluxe kit contains materials for marking and containing utility problems as well as handling


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