History, Course Descriptions, Training Tips, & Ideas



How did CERT start?

In Southern Nevada CERT training began in 1999. The first course was held in Sun City Summerlin and graduated 12 students. We offer between 18-and 20 courses each year throughout Southern Nevada at Community Centers, Churches, and other facilities provided by the groups sponsoring a course. If your group consists of 15-32 individuals, we can tailor a course specifically for it.

The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) 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. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees.

The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.

How do I join?

The CERT course is delivered in the community by a team of first responders who have the requisite knowledge and skills to instruct the sessions. The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 ½  to 3 hour sessions, one evening a week over a six (6) or eight (8) week period.

When participants have completed this training, with their permission, they are entered into a database of disaster volunteers that may be notified in case of a disaster or to participate in drills held throughout the county by responding agencies. CERT members are notified by EMAIL.

To register for a course, please visit the CERT Courses page. Click "Register" for the corresponding course number, complete the registration form and click submit. If there is space available, you will be registered automatically. If the course is no longer available you will receive an email, asking you to select another course.

What are the course fees?

The course is free. The Community Emergency Response Team Program is sponsored through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Course Descriptiions

Module One 1, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
Related Documents:
Big Quake in County Would Kill Hundreds
Module 2, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
Related Documents:
Basic Firefighting Tips
Module 3, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
Related Documents:
Module 4, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
Module 5, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
Module 6 DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker
Module 7, TEAM ORGANIZATION: Addresses CERT organization, ICS (Incident Command System), management principles and the need for documentation
Module 8, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: Presents the goals and types of weapons used most commonly by terrorist.
Module 9, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.

YouTube Video