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Chris Williams                               CERT & Citizen Corps Coordinator       (614) 794-0213


chriswilliams@franklincountyohio.gov
Franklin County CERT
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Franklin County

Community Emergency Response Team Program

All classes are FREE of charge!

CERT Concept: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for 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 medical operations using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises.

CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.                                                                                                                       (Source: http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams)

History of CERT

The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees. The training program that LAFD initiated furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens; the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.(Source: http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams)

Why Take The CERT Training?

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, there can be an emergency or disaster that can overwhelm the community's immediate response capability. While adjacent jurisdictions, State and Federal resources can activate to help, there may be a delay for them getting to those who need them. The primary reason for CERT training is to give people the decision-making, organizational, and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors, and co-workers while waiting for help. While people will respond to others in need without the training, the goal of the CERT program is to help people do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.             (Source: www.fema.gov)

Franklin County CERT (FC CERT)

CERT volunteers in Franklin County take care of themselves first, then their families, and finally their neighbors. CERT volunteers also take care of their co-workers if the incident occurs while at work. CERT volunteers do not wait for a phone call in this case; they react to their immediate environment. CERT volunteers work within their scope of training. The FC CERT concept is not much different from when a citizen who holds a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) card from the American Red Cross (ARC) and decides to perform CPR on a victim. The CPR card holder does not call the ARC and as permission to start CPR. Remember, CERT training is for major emergencies or disasters.

FC CERT volunteers do not self-deploy to areas outside their neighborhood or workplace unless they are evacuating to safety from a hazard.  FC CERT volunteers take care of their household and their immediate neighbors and wait for an official activation from FCEM&HS.

CERT volunteers listen to their local officials for instruction.  Police, Fire, or other local officials may not be immediately available, but will eventually arrive to help; typically within the first 72 hours; maybe longer based on the scope and magnitude of the emergency or disaster.  Local officials are in charge of their jurisdiction and FC CERT volunteers need to heed their instructions without question as to the nature of their instructions.

The FC CERT Program is the core volunteer program of FCEM&HS.  The FC CERT Basic Training is the staple of the FC CERT Program.  CERT is not in law in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC); however, The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is adopted as law in ORC 5502.28 and CERT is listed in the NIMS document on page 13 under Preparedness Organizations. FC CERT Basic Training is administered by FCEM&HS and covers many of the topics that are authorized by law in ORC 5502.21 under civil defense. Click here for more information on the history of civil defense.

The topics of the FC CERT Basic Training are as follows:

  • Unit 1: Disaster Preparedness
  • Unit 2: Fire Safety and Utility Control
  • Unit 3: Disaster Medical Operations 1
  • Unit 4: Disaster Medical Operations 2
  • Unit 5: Light Urban Search and Rescue
  • Unit 6: CERT Organization
  • Unit 7: Disaster Psychology
  • Unit 8: Terrorism and CERT
  • Unit 9: Disaster Simulation

Classes are typically about 3 hours for each unit for a total of 27 hours of basic training. The classes run one day per week for 9 consecutive weeks with the exception of skipping holiday weeks. All 9 units of training must be documented as completed before receiving your certificate.

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