Our Local CERT
Santa Rosa County is proud to announce the implementation of the Community Emergency Response Team ( CERT ) program. CERT is an official emergency preparedness program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
CERTs are formed by members of a neighborhood or workplace who wants to be better prepared for the hazards that threaten their communities. The course benefits anyone who takes it by being better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters.
The best source of help in an emergency or disaster is the paid or volunteer professional. But, if they are not available due to high demand, CERT members can help. CERTs are not intended to replace a community’s response capability, but rather, to service as an important supplement to it.
By sponsoring CERT , Santa Rosa County is creating a volunteer resource that is part of the community’s operational capability following a disaster. The SRC CERT program will develop training standards for CERT personnel and protocols for their activation and use.
- CERT volunteers must keep their safety in mind as their first priority.
- CERT volunteers must know their capabilities and the limitations of their training and equipment and work within those limitations.
Introduction - “How CERTs Operate”
As each CERT is organized and trained and in accordance with standard operating procedures developed by the sponsoring agency, its members select a team leader and an alternate and identify a meeting location, or staging area, to be used in the event of a disaster.
The staging area is where the fire department and other services will interact with CERTs. Having a centralized contact point makes it possible to communicate damage assessments and allocate volunteer resources more effectively.
Damage from disasters may vary considerably from one location to another. In an actual disaster, CERTs are deployed progressively and as needs dictate. Members are taught to assess their own needs and those of their immediate environment first.
CERT members who encounter no need in their immediate area then reports to their staging area, where they take on assigned roles based on overall area needs. Members who find themselves in a heavily affected location send runners to staging areas to get help from available resources. Ham and CB radio links also may be used to increase communication capabilities and coordination.
The CERT program can provide an effective first-response capability. Acting as individuals first, then later as members of teams, trained CERT volunteers can fan out within their assigned areas, extinguishing small fires, turning off natural gas inlets to damaged homes, performing light search and rescue, and rendering basic medical treatment. Trained volunteers also offer an important potential workforce to service organizations in non hazardous functions such as shelter support, crowd control, and evacuation.
CERT volunteers always work only within their training levels!
CERT Training: Participant Manual