Community Emergency Response Teams
Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help citizens protect themselves, their family, and their neighbors in an emergency situation.
CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to help others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to prepare them to do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.
ROLES OF CERT
CERT personnel are trained to:
- Identify and mitigate potential hazards in their homes and workplace.
- Prepare themselves and their loved ones for the hazards that they face.
- Learn skills to help themselves, loved ones, and neighbors or fellow employees until professional response resources arrive.
- Work cooperatively as a team within their neighborhoods or workplaces.
- Understand their capabilities and limitations when deployed.
CERT members DO NOT:
- Chase ambulances, fire trucks, or any emergency response vehicle!
- Suppress large fires.
- Enter structures that they consider heavily damaged and dangerous (e.g., leaning or moved from foundation).
- Perform hazardous materials cleanup or respond to incidents involving radiological, chemical, or biological agents.
- Perform medical, fire, or search and rescue operations beyond their level of training.
CERT members are encouraged to:
- Participate in continuing education and training.
- Maintain a relationship with Cherokee County Division of Emergency Management.
- Volunteer for projects to enhance the public safety of their communities.
CERTs are not intended to replace a community's response capability, but rather, to serve as an important supplement to it.
CERT members must keep their own 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.
CERTs are considered "Good Samaritans" and are covered under the Volunteer Protection Act. CERT volunteers do not have any authority beyond serving as a "Good Samaritan" when helping others. When deployed appropriately, however, CERTs can complement and enhance first-response capability in neighborhoods and workplaces by ensuring the safety of themselves and their families working outward to the neighborhood or office and beyond until first responders arrive. CERTs can then assist first-response personnel as requested.
Please complete an application and you will be notified when the future training is scheduled.
Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management sponsors CERT training in Cherokee County.
CERT training consists of approximately 20 hours of initial instruction. Classes are taught by emergency responders from your community. Topics include:
- DISASTER AWARENESS: Introduction to disasters specific to your community and the impact it could have on our county. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster.
- 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.
- DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating life-threatening injuries by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
- DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Participants evaluate patients using a head-to-toe assessment and perform basic first aid in a safe, sanitary manner.
- LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most importantly, rescuer safety.
- DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY: Participants learn to recognize post-disaster emotions that might be experienced by the disaster victim and the worker.
- TERRORISM: Participants are given a brief overview of terrorism weapons and targets in their area.
- TEAM ORGANIZATION & COURSE REVIEW: Management principles, CERT team organization, and the need for accurate documentation are addressed.
- DISASTER SIMULATION: CERT members practice what they have learned throughout the course as they participate in a disaster drill realistic to their community.
How much time will I be required to commit?
- You will be required to complete the initial training course, and to attend annual refresher courses as scheduled. You may be asked to volunteer for projects from time to time, but there will be no obligation in those instances.
Where can I get my CERT ID?
At the completion of the class your CERT ID will be provided to you by the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management. If your ID is lost or stolen please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (678) 493-4038.
What if I move to another area?
If you move to another location within Cherokee County, you should notify your CERT liaison email@example.com or call (678) 493-4038 with your new contact information. If you move to a different county, you should return your Cherokee County CERT ID card and contact the Emergency Management Agency in your new county to find out if they have a CERT program that you can become involved in.
How will CERT be deployed during an emergency?
CERT may be deployed by the Division of Emergency Management. If a disaster happens in your neighborhood, you should not wait to be notified, you may self-deploy. You should take care of yourself and your family first and then proceed to help your neighbors. You should never self-deploy as a CERT member outside of your neighborhood.
Where can I find out about upcoming Training or Refresher Courses?
As a CERT member you will be notified by email about upcoming training courses.
How can I find out about upcoming classes?
Make sure to check our website frequently, also look for advertisements in your local newspaper and on local radio stations.
Why do authorities sometimes request no more volunteers?
At times of emergency, many of us feel driven to help. That is why we are part of CERT. The logistics of scheduling volunteer teams can become overwhelming. What we can do during an emergency is to remain ready and prepared in our own neighborhoods. Our duty and our best aid to the disaster relief effort is to remain prepared to respond right where we are.
I don't see my question on this list?
If you have a question that is not on this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (678) 493-4038.
Division of Emergency Management CERT Liaison Mark Harris Office Phone: 678-493-4038 Fax: 678-493-4027 Email: email@example.com