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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

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.

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.​

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 the 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.

More Information
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