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Public Safety

Community Emergency Response Team

About the CERT Program

The purpose of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is to train people living in the community to take care of themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event of a disaster.

The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

CERT - Then and Now

The CERT concept dates back to 1985, when the Los Angeles Fire Department recognized that in the early stages of a disaster – earthquakes in particular – local emergency responders would be overwhelmed, and basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of community members to survive until responders or other assistance arrived.
 
Recognizing the universal value of this program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked in conjunction with the LAFD to make the CERT program applicable to all types of hazards and developed a CERT training program which could be used nationwide and adapted to meet local conditions when the need arose.
 
The tragic events of September 11 remind us that disaster can strike anywhere or anytime, and that basic safety and disaster survival skills can mean the difference between life and death. CERT training empowers community members to prepare responsibly and respond appropriately when emergencies occur.
 

What CERT Teams Do

CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
 

About CERT Training

If you join a CERT, you will receive basic-level training in the following areas:
  • Basic First Aid
  • Family Disaster Preparedness
  • Disaster Fire Suppression
  • Medical Operations
  • CERT Operations
  • Disaster Mental Health
  • Basic Emergency Management
  • Disaster Simulation -- Skills Review

Total training is usually about 18 hours, scheduled in 2-4 hour modules, over a period of weeks or months, in order to address the scheduling needs of team members. It's held in the community where you live.

Training courses, student materials and equipment are provided free of charge.

If you are an individual looking to join a local CERT Team, contact your municipal emergency management coordinator to see if the program is already active in your community, or if a CERT program is being developed.  Contact phone numbers for Camden County CERT are listed below.


Camden County CERT Contact

Jay Vilardo
Planner/CERT Coordinator
Camden County Office of Emergency Management
(856) 783-4808 ext 5408

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