CERT Training Opportunities Near You

Jul 12, 2012 by

The Community Emergency Response Team LogoEver heard of the CERT Program? It stands for Community Emergency Response Teams.  The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Snake Eyes, Nurse Jane and I all participated in CERT training a couple of years ago.  We are given opportunities for continuous education now and again, as well as the opportunity to play disaster victim for the local Fire Department – which is a LOT of fun!

CERT Training Using Leverage To Rescue Crushed Victim

There are CERT programs in every region throughout the country.  Google CERT for your local area, and see what you find. The training is free, and includes topics like search and rescue, fire safety, first aid (including certification), HAZMAT and more.  I highly recommend the CERT program if there is one available in your area. They also offer training for teens and young adults – it’s common sense disaster preparedness. It’s also a great way to get involved in your local community in a perfectly understandable, OPSEC-friendly way. You might even meet other like-minded friends.

If you are in Florida, check out the Florida Citizen Corps for local CERT program information.

The Berkey Guy recently attended CERT class and blogged about his experiences in a nice, easy to follow recap of what he learned:


Next month, our regional CERT program is hosting some outstanding advanced training that Snake Eyes and I are signed up attend, including:

Advanced Fire Extinguishing Operations

CERT Team Members Rescue Collapse Victim

This block of instruction will build on existing fire extinguishing skills of CERT members. Participants will be partnered with a team member (their CERT Buddy) and an instructor who is a professional firefighter. They will enter a darkened, simulated smoke environment inside a burn building demonstrating proper safety techniques advancing to the seat of the fire and extinguish the fire using the PASS system. (The fire will be in a controlled metal bin)

VENT Enter Search (VES) Techniques

This block of instruction will address physical techniques and competencies to do search and emergency rescue drags and/or carries in addition to teaching participants fire behavior in a search and rescue atmosphere.

  • How to search medium to large areas utilizing ropes while operating in teams of 2-3 members
  • “Vent Enter Search” (VES) techniques to save victims of a structure fire with a known location. VES is an advanced skill that produces tremendous rescue possibilities.
  • Consciences and unconscious victim removal

Advanced Disaster Medical Operations

This block of instruction is a combination of lecture and exercise that will reinforce knowledge use of the Incident Command System (ICS) as well as patient assessment, emergency treatment and utilization of START triage system. Participants will work in small groups to respond to calls where they will establish command, request assistance and communicate with EMS, and employ the START system on live “moulaged” victim role players. Participants will have first aid kits and handbooks to assist them with their decision making.

Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC) – Advanced Search and Rescue and Nighttime Drill

The focus of this exercise will be to educate CERT members on the use of Thermal Imagers utilized by many fire and rescue personnel nationwide. Participants will receive a lecture/overview on TIC in preparation of a nighttime drill where they will incorporate TIC into search and rescue efforts stemming from a mass casualty incident.  Thermal Imagers are utilized in the following advanced operations:

  • CERT Triaging Drill in ActionInitial size up
  • Overhaul
  • Rapid Intervention Team operations
  • Hazardous Materials situations
  • Pre-Planning
  • Fire Inspections
  • Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
  • Assisting Law Enforcement

Public Works Class

Classroom lecture where participants will learn more about the public works departments and their role in response and recovery to disasters or emergencies.

HAZMAT Introduction and Demonstration

The City of Fort Myers HAZMAT team will present a lecture on the HAZMAT team capabilities, tools, resources and participants will have a chance to see the equipment they use up close. Participants will be able to try on a HAZMAT suit and see what it is like to try and perform delicate tasks with all of the gear on.


They are also offering some basic training for the general public, including the following:

CERT Responders Rescue Victim From Rubble“A Day in the Life of Law Enforcement…”

This training course will explore the responsibilities and duties that a contemporary law enforcement professional confronts each day. An overview of local, state, and federal limitations will be reviewed and the student will learn how complimentary the various criminal justice systems are. Myths and misperceptions that are portrayed in the media and constitutional restraints will also be discussed.

HAM Radio Demonstration (Hands On)

Participants will be given a lecture presentation on HAM radio operations, and then gain have hands on experience trying to make “contact” with other radio operators live on-air. They will use as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and learn to operate in abnormal situations and/or in less than optimal conditions. A premium is placed on developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities of Amateur Radio.

Domestic Terrorism

Teen CERT Members Conferring Together on Drill

Lecture/Presentation. Exploration of historic and contemporary domestic terrorism will be presented. “Home-grown” groups, their belief systems, their tactics, and how our government responds to them will be reviewed. Critique and discussion of emergency responders’ actions are paramount to improving community strategies to address these critical incidents.

Communications Building Blocks 

Hands on team building activity that relies on strong, accurate communication to “build” an item sight unseen using team members that are in separate rooms. Participants will communicate via radio only.

CPR Certification

Participants will have an opportunity to become certified in CPR.


Does that not all sound super fun?  Go Google your local CERT program today; get involved! I’m excited about our upcoming advanced training. Fun fun!

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