In the wake of a disaster, every little bit helps. Joining a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) can bolster emergency response and assistance in your neighborhood. Local Community Emergency Response Team programs are a grassroots effort to improve how a community handles an emergency and encourage those who can to help, by educating volunteers about disaster preparedness and training them in basic disaster response skills.
As the flood protection agency for the county, the Santa Clara Valley Water District works closely and regularly with city and county partners to sharpen and practice emergency communications and response. When a disaster strikes, local agencies work to restore basic services for residents and repair critical infrastructure impacted. Having qualified and trained community members provide on-the-ground assistance is invaluable to local and state agencies responding to a disaster. That’s why the water district encourages you to join a CERT program to support keeping our communities safe.
Regardless of your experience in public safety, CERTs offer highly valuable training in fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. Participating in the program allows you to provide immediate and adequate assistance to family, neighbors and community members.
CERT participants receive a combination of hands-on, online and video training over a course of at least 20 hours. In Santa Clara County, 16 local government agencies have CERT programs, including the Santa Clara County Fire of Department. Visit your city’s website for information on program availability and training schedule.
The CERT concept was born in California in the 1980s, developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department. After the Whittier Narrows earthquake of 1987, LAFD saw the effectiveness in equipping residents with survival skills and in the early 90s, FEMA began making the training nationally available. Today there are more than 2,700 programs across the country, with more than half a million individuals trained since it became an official FEMA program.
Whether it’s an earthquake, wildfires, or a flood, being prepared for emergencies is key to survival. Begin your preparedness efforts with your emergency kit and family plan, and enhance your ability to keep your loved ones safe by participating in CERT.