This site was created in cooperation with the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, and is supported by funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
by Rita Hoffman, Emergency Management Coordinator,
City of Olathe, Kansas
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 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.
CERT training promotes a partnership between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations and businesses in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.
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.
CERT training takes about 20 hours to complete, and includes topics such as disaster preparedness, fire safety, triage and treatment of life-threatening injuries, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology and terrorism.
Fourteen CERTs currently operate in the eight-county, bistate region — four on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area and 10 in Missouri. For more information about CERT opportunities, contact your local emergency management department or visit www.citizencorps.gov/cert.