Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) - Local Course Information
Interested parties should go to the FEMA website and take an online orientation course, which will better prepare them for the CERT training.
The Online FEMA/EMI Independent Study Course, Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) (IS-317) is located here. This class is recommended to prepare you BEFORE you take the 24 hour class. Please follow the instructions and you will be guided through course completion and complete the course in just a few hours and be awarded to course completion certificate. This is NOT a replacement for the CERT class, but an introduction to the course.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
The City's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program was established in March of 2000. The CERT program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in the community. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. CERT is the community's greatest asset for disaster readiness and self-reliance in an emergency.
The CERT course is taught in the community by a cadre of experienced first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course conducted in conjunction with FEMA, the State of California, and the County of Los Angeles. The current CERT Program is managed by the City's Emergency Management Division. Those interested in taking the next CERT course can contact Lt. Scott Doukakis at 310-524-2226.Please download the Program Brochure and Application for more details and send it back to the Fire Department to express your interest in the next class.
The CERT program is based on the FEMA and City of Los Angeles Fire Department CERT model established after the Mexico City Earthquake in 1985 that registered a magnitude 8.1 on the Richter scale and killed more than 10,000 people and injured more than 30,000. Mexico City had no training program for citizens prior to the disaster. However, large groups of volunteers organized themselves and performed light search and rescue operations. Volunteers were credited with more than 800 successful rescues; unfortunately, more than 100 of these untrained volunteers died during the 15-day rescue operation.
The lessons learned in Mexico City strongly indicated that a plan to train volunteers to help themselves and others, and become an adjunct to government response, was needed as an essential part of overall preparedness, survival, and recovery. In 1993, FEMA took the LAFD model and implemented the program nationwide. In 2004, the CERT program was in place in all 50 states.
CERT was established because when disaster strikes, people in the affected areas will respond, and perhaps put themselves or others in danger. The goal of CERT is to empower people with training, education, and skills that will prevent spontaneous volunteers from placing themselves at risk by recognizing dangerous situations (downed power lines, fires, etc.), and having the skills and training to work as team (CERT members never work alone), and assist the city's emergency response agencies and communicating information that can help the city and its first responders.
The CERT Program works on very simple, focused principles:
Take Care of Yourself, and if you are OK;
Take Care of Your Family, and if they are OK;
Take Care of Your Neighbor; and if they are OK;
Take Care of Your Neighborhood; and provide security and safety for the community following a disaster.
CERT in ACTION
The El Segundo CERT Association and the El Segundo Amateur Radio Group participated in a combined exercise on February 20, 2010.
The goal is to have the CERT Program taught at least three times per year. To express an interest in the next class, call 310-524-2226.
CERT training is open to El Segundo residents and employees working in the city. Training is provided on a first-come, first served basis. A minimum of 20 confirmed participants are required to conduct a class due to the costs and resources needed to conduct a course. Outside residents may attend if seats are available. Family members are encouraged to register as a group.
Students should be in good general health, physically fit and be able to sit, stand, and/or squat for extended periods of time, and be able to lift up to 50 pounds.
The training is $60.00 in which the student receive an emergency response kit for use in the training and the student keeps and takes home to begin self readiness.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Elements
(each session is approximately 3 hours - 24 hours total) The sessions are not necessarily given in the order below.
Session One: Disaster Preparedness Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in our community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor addresses expanded response roles 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. Local threats and risks are identified and detailed.
Session Two: Basic Fire Suppression Instruction involves the basics of 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. This training culminates with hands-on training using fire extinguishers and putting out live fires under the supervision of trained fire personnel. This element will teach students what fires should be suppressed and what fires you should walk away from as they can easily overcome and/or entrap you.
Session Three: Disaster Medical Operations I Participants use team skills to work together and practice diagnosing and treating major emergencies such as airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
Session Four: Disaster Medical Operations II Using continuous team skills, the training covers evaluating patients by doing a head-to-toe assessment, participants learn how to establish a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing moving injured victims in a safe and sanitary manner.
Session Five: Light Search and Rescue Operations Participants learn about search and rescue planning and how to use debris and other materials for simple rescue, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety. This session is conducted with the students practicing hands-on practical training learning how to free someone trapped in light debris.
Session Six: Disaster Psychology Participants learn how to deal with people who have been through a life changing event.
Session Seven: Terrorism Awareness Participants learn the definition of terrorism, how to recognize potential trouble around the neighborhood, at business, and what constitutes "suspicious" activity. Students are taught what actions to take if they suspect a possible terrorist act, and what immediate steps to take to avoid injury, disability, or death. Students are also taught general information about the various types and kinds of weapons used - chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and incendiary devices.
Session Eight: Course Overview and Disaster Simulation Participants are put through the paces under supervison of the Instructors and will repeatedly practice the skills they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster scenario drills, how to work as a team, and learn how to begin to put their training all together.
As the CERT program expands, the City of El Segundo will establish a "Block Captain" program where established CERT team members in various parts of the community will be responsible for assisting in coordination, training, and continuing education needs for their neighborhoods and CERT team members. CERT Teams will train and exercise (drill) together, and strengthen the ability of the community to a disaster or emergency.
The Block Captain system will also play a major role in the city's organized response in communicating information, health and welfare issues affecting neighborhoods, and provide security for affected areas in a disaster. We invite the community to participate in this process as the CERT Program expands in the community.