The goal of any disaster plan is to act—not react. This requires a degree of training and planning ahead for what to do in an emergency. Whether it’s riding out a severe storm or reducing the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, adequate preparation is the key to confidently tackling whatever disaster comes your way.

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, so now is the perfect time to learn more about Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. This program educates volunteers in basic disaster response skills to prepare them to face hazards that may impact their area. When more civilians have CERT training, they can lend a hand during disasters and allow professional responders to focus on more complex and critical tasks.

The History of CERT

Civilians are often on their own during the early stages of a disaster. Under these circumstances, community members tend to aid one another spontaneously. While untrained volunteers can certainly lend a hand, training makes them even more valuable.

The Los Angeles Fire Department recognized this and developed the Community Emergency Response Team concept in 1985. CERT became a national program in 1993. Today, CERT programs exist in all 50 states, including many tribal communities and US territories. More than 600,000 people have trained since CERT was scaled to a national level.

Why Join CERT?

People from all walks of life decide to join CERT. It can help you feel empowered knowing you can step into a leadership role when disaster strikes, providing a voice of calm and reason when chaos threatens to cause panic and despair. CERT can also allow you the opportunity to give back, especially if you have survived disasters in the past thanks to the skills and reliability of CERT volunteers.

CERT Basic Training

CERT trains volunteers to assist their families, neighbors, coworkers, and community members during emergencies when professional responders may not be immediately available to provide assistance. The basic training curriculum covers what to do before, during and after a disaster. Topics include:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Team organization
  • Disaster medical operations
  • Disaster psychology
  • Fire safety and utility controls
  • Light search and rescue operations
  • Terrorism and active shooter response

Finding a CERT Program

Community Emergency Response Team training is for everyone. Local programs span the nation, and they’re always looking for new volunteers to join. Look for a CERT program that fits your needs and demographics to help you make the most of your training. Options include Teen CERT, Workplace CERT, and Campus CERT. Visit to find a CERT program near you.

DKI Can Aid in Your Disaster Recovery Efforts

When a disaster strikes your area, DKI is here to help your home or business recover. Our disaster restoration company responds to water damage, mold damage, fire damage, and much more. We are here for you 24/7, so feel free to contact us any time. For more emergency preparedness tips or to request disaster response, please call DKI at 877-533-0210.