The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs.
CERT became a national program in 1993. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories. Each is unique to its community and all are essential to building a Culture of Preparedness in the United States. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide and more than 600,000 people have trained since CERT became a national program.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may occur where they live.
CERT trains volunteers in basic disaster response skills, such as:
- Fire safety
- Light search and rescue
- Team organization
- Disaster medical operation
The CERT program offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.