TRANSCRIPT: Community Emergency Response Team Podcast

Hello. My name is Rita Hoffman. I’m the Emergency Management Coordinator for the city of Olathe, Kansas.

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity? If you would like to learn how to help people in your community during or after a disaster, consider joining a Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.

The CERT program, run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, teaches people like you about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact our area, and provides training in basic disaster response skills. CERT training promotes a partnership between emergency service agencies and the people that they serve.

Fourteen CERTs currently operate in the eight-county, bistate region — four on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area and 10 in Missouri.

Using what they learn both in the classroom and during training exercises, CERT members can help others in their neighborhoods or workplaces when professional responders are not immediately available to help during an emergency.

CERT members also are encouraged to support local emergency response agencies by taking an active role in emergency preparedness projects in their communities.

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.

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.

For more information about CERT opportunities, contact your local emergency management department or visit