The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. 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.

The CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course conducted by their state training office for emergency management, or FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI), located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. CERT training includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations.

Over the next two years, the CERT program aims to double the number of participants, with over 400,000 individuals completing the 18 plus hours of training. Communities in 28 states have initiated CERT training and additional Train-the-Trainer sessions will be held over the next year to expand the program throughout the United States.