Individual/Community Preparedness

Beyond Basic CERT Training

The CERT curriculum is an excellent start for developing community response; there needs to be a nationally-recognized, modular set of curricula for ongoing education and skill development of CERT members.


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Similar Ideas [ 1 ]


  1. Comment
    Mark Kaintz

    I wholeheartedly agree. Our CERT team has had to tap into the Red Cross, nursing schools, NASAR (search & rescue), local air ambulance services, of course our Fire Departments, ATF, FBI, and more. We have NOT had success in engaging our local ambulance district which is separate from our fire district. To keep ongoing training simple I suggest that it keeps close (NB: not rigidly so) to the basic CERT training outline. We don't want CERT teams working outside of their scope. Training should reflect that scope and work within it. Keeping CERT members engaged is a hard thing to do. This is why many teams (including ours) have "sexy" training such as radio communications, ground flight operations, etc. While they are not totally within the scope of what CERT is chartered to do, it does provide incentive for some members to stay involved. One mostly untapped value that CERT has is that it is made up of Jane and Joe Nextdoor. By being the neighbor next door it is conceivably helpful to have such members reach out to non CERT members in their neighborhood and help them get prepared. CERT teams can reinforce this each season, e.g., flyers on how to prepare for winter storms, tornado and hurricane season, etc. Again, I really cannot emphasize the need for a CERT curriculum for the workplace. Few of us spend less than 2/3 of our waking time at work. These same precepts should be carried out there too.

  2. Comment
    Tom Schweich

    I agree. Many CERT programs have an advanced CERT curriculum, but each one is a little different. Some offer Shelter Operations, some FRS radio training, some Emergency Volunteer Training, other offer Disaster Psychology. We need a standardized advanced CERT curriculum that can be accessed cafeteria-style, with defined levels of achievement, so that when an "advanced" CERT member shows up we can rapidly understand the skills they bring to the situation.

  3. Comment
    Summer DeBastiani

    Standardization is going to be the key to creating a "culture of preparedness" across the nation. I whole heatedly agree!

  4. Comment
    D Holmes

    Standard modules on various topics should be created. These modules can be taught once the basic CERT curriculum has been completed. Suggestions include: CPR, Radio communication, landing zone prep and operation, Shelter set up and operation,

    Mass evacuation, transportation, POD set up and operation. There are probably many more that can be added as time goes on and the topics can be taught/used as part of refresher training.

  5. Comment
    Robert Ross

    Just someof the training our CERT team offers:

    CPR Pro + AED

    Medical 1st Responder (50+ hrs)

    Wilderness Medical 1st Responder (20+ hrs)

    Bloodborne Pathogens

    Wildland Fire Urban Interface

    Helicopter Safety (LZ selection, set up and operations)

    Vehicle Extrictaion (basic tools - no high-pressure systems or saws)

    FCC Amateur Radio Licensing

    Basic Radio Communications

    Map Reading/Compass/GPS/Land Navigation

    FD knots


    HAZMAT Awareness

    Flood & Swiftwater Awareness/Rescue

    ARC Shelter Management

    ARC Psychological First Aid


    Pet 1st Aid

    Animal Rescue/Decontamination/Sheltering

    Techniques of Traffic Control

    USAR Deployment

    These classes keep our 'active' members engaged, lets the FD use us for more tasks (First Aid coverage for large public events, etc.), and lets us become an active volunteer resource. If more teams that have advanced levels start sharing their training and experience, emergency agencies around the country can see that not only can it be done, but it can be quite effective during disasters.

  6. Comment
    art blick

    Robert, you are absolutely on target. Unfortunately, I suspect that most of the paid professionals would not support such training for CERTs. If you are going to have a CERT program and keep it functioning and readily deployable, advanced training is going to be required, or you will not be able to keep your volunteers around for long. Like tigers, you have to feed them more than warm milk to keep them interested. They need some real meat in their diet! In our case, our CERTs are not interested in being police, firemen, or paramedics. However, they want, and need, to be trained and educated in many of the areas you state above to the point that they have the requisite skills when called on to support these other organizations.

  7. Comment
    Tom Prussing

    Community budget deficits, which are reducing civic emergency response capabilities, now make it a reality that we may be on our own from three to five days in a major disaster.

    As others have mentioned that there needs to be advanced scenario-driven training for CERT’s in command decision making, volunteer direction and security, communications, medical and morgue operations (when there is little or no hospital support available), logistics (light search/rescue and scavenging), shelter operations, transport and evacuation, and rapid response/firefighting.

    These classes should be modular, unified and incorporate best practices derived from the after-action reports of such disasters as Katrina, Chengdu, Haiti and Chile.

    At Stanford, our SCERTeam recently combined two separate programs, Urban First Aid and Wilderness First Aid, and now offers them in a consecutive three-day intensive scenario driven advanced medical training course.

    We intend to create new intensive programs and self-educate in other areas of emergency response until national, state or county offerings are developed from what happened in the aforementioned disasters.

    We conduct 1.5-hour monthly forums on specific emergency conditions and scenarios that have come out of these disasters do develop a common response.

    CERT members should also be allowed to review after-action reports of our county, state and federal emergency responders without having to go through mindless bureaucracies and security background checks. These reports are invaluable for training CERTs in effective and event-proven emergency response techniques.

    All of this training could be coordinated through agencies like the Red Cross. FEMA, DHS and/or the Department of Interior need to work with the states and counties with a sense of urgency.

    Short of that we must train ourselves using existing training materials available from multiple sources.

    We cannot wait. Timeliness is critical.

  8. Comment
    Jeffrey Robinson

    Another problem is that the new curriculum that was approved, and was supposed to have been release around October, 2008 has yet to be released. We need to emphasize the importance of CERT and in personal preparedness. We have to get the point across that the public needs to help take care of themselves.