Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

What is CERT?

The Federal Emergency management Agency, using the model created by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, began promoting nationwide use of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept in 1994. Since then, CERTs have been established in hundreds of communities.

CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of the neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.

If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community's professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. CERT skills also apply to daily emergencies.

CERT members maintain and refine their skills by participating in exercises and activities. They can attend supplemental training opportunities offered by the sponsoring agency and others that further their skills base. Finally, CERT members can volunteer for projects that improve community emergency preparedness.

Target audiences in training are the following: Neighborhoods, Scouting Organization, Businesses, School Staff/Students Clubs/Organizations, Communities of Faith and Amateur Radio Emergency Services.

Training is designed to cover the following: Disaster preparedness, Fire safety, Disaster medical operations, Light search and rescue, Team organization and Disaster psychology.

CERT Training will teach participants to:

  • Describe the types of hazards most likely to affect their homes and communities.
  • Describe the function of CERT and their roles in immediate response.
  • Take steps to prepare themselves for a disaster
  • Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in their homes and workplaces.
  • Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations
  • Describe the most common techniques for searching a structure
  • Use safe techniques for debris removal
  • Describe ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue.

CERT members will be under the direction of the Town of Harvard’s Fire Chief Richard Sicard and CERT Manager Patricia Natoli. The sessions require about 20 hours to complete.


The National Training and Education (NTE) online Course Catalog provides searchable, integrated information on courses provided or managed by FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP).

**You must first get a FEMA Student Identification (SID) number here. Notice: Independent Study Exams now require a FEMA Student Identification (SID) Number.

  • FEMA IC-100: IS-100.B: Introduction to Incident Command System
  • FEMA IC-700: IS-700.A: National Incident Management System (NIMS) Introduction
  • FEMA IC-317: An Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams

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