Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
What is CERT?
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates families and individuals about preparing for disasters or hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster preparedness.
CERT members promote emergency preparedness, give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, collect disaster information to support first responder efforts and provide help in the period immediately following a major emergency or disaster. CERT enables individuals to help their families and neighbors prepare, respond and recover within their own neighborhood.
A Brief History of CERT
Throughout history when disaster struck, people stepped in to help their neighbors and strangers alike. Millions of Americans volunteered during World War II to become civil defense workers trained to be ready should the war impact their community. After WWII civil defense skills were transferred toward threats created by disasters –most often natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. Over time, those skills began to erode and the nation’s inherent capability for self-reliance in emergencies was diminished by the lack of training and example.
The current Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985 as a result of knowledge gained from the catastrophic Mexico City earthquake. After a series of additional disasters including earthquakes, fires, and landslides, LAPD refined their concept even further. Since September 11, 2001, even greater importance has been placed on a prepared citizenry.
Every community is different and CERT programs vary from one community to another based on the needs and resources available. Basic CERT programs deploy within or close to their neighborhoods or businesses. Some localities may deploy CERTs beyond their neighborhood provided there has been additional locality specific training and in compliance with incident command structures.
How do I get involved?
Raritan Township CERT has adopted an open entry policy. Applications are accepted from individuals throughout the area.
In addition to the knowledge gained from CERT training, by studying together volunteer trainees will develop the important skills necessary to work as a cohesive team. The skills and knowledge gained in CERT training will serve you well in an emergency situation and your example may serve to encourage your neighbors or co-workers to become members of a CERT.
To be a CERT volunteer you must have completed the following:
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Successfully complete the Hunterdon County CERT training program.
- Comply with the rules and policies set forth by Raritan Twp. OEM.
- Complete and sign the Appointments Contract with Raritan Township.
Active CERT Volunteer Responsibilities
- Maintain yourself and your own household in a state of readiness so that you can effectively respond to events in your neighborhood and serve as an example to others.
- Attend no less than 75% of the monthly CERT meetings.
- Volunteer for a minimum of 2 events or incidents/year.
- Maintain personal and organizational equipment in good condition.
- Participate in at least one drill every two years.
Raritan Township CERT Team Member Application: CERT Application