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Community Emergency Response Teams Training (CERT)

The City of San José’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is a 20-hour commitment. CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that are most likely to occur in San José and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide volunteer training that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks.

CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since CERT became a national program.

Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members:

  • Learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards
  • Help organize basic disaster response
  • Promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community events

Course Overview

The CERT Basic Course is delivered by a team of San José first responders, and other qualified volunteers. It includes the following components:

  • Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.
  • Small Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
  • Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.
  • Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.
  • Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.

The City of San José is currently updating its CERT program and anticipates debuting the program this Spring.

Please complete and submit this form to receive announcements of when and where CERT classes will take place.

Until the new CERT program comes to your neighborhood, get started by taking these free, self-paced online courses from FEMA:

IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

IS-315: CERT Supplemental Training, the Incident Command System (ICS)