CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference.  While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.  In the CERT training, citizens learn to:
• Manage utilities and put out small fires.
• Treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock.
• Provide basic medical aid.
• Provide light Search and rescue.
• Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.
• Collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

The idea to train volunteers from the community to assist emergency service personnel during large natural disasters began in 1985. In February of 1985 a group of Los Angeles City officials went to Japan to study its extensive earthquake preparedness plans. The group encountered an extremely homogenous society that had taken extensive steps to train entire neighborhoods in one aspect of alleviating the potential devastation that would follow a major earthquake. These single-function neighborhood teams were training in either fire suppression, light search and rescue operations, first aid, or evacuation.

In 1986, the City of Los Angeles Fire Department developed a pilot program to train a group of leaders in a neighborhood watch organization. This first team of 30 people completed training in early 1986 and proved that the concept was viable through various drills, demonstrations and exercises.

Due to an earthquake in October 1, 1987, the Whittier Narrows earthquake vividly showed the need to expedite the training of civilians to prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies. The City of Los Angeles created the Disaster Preparedness Division (now the Disaster Preparedness Section) within the Los Angeles Fire Department.
In 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) decided to make the concept and program available to communities nationwide. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI), in cooperation with the LAFD (LA Fire Department), expanded the CERT materials to make them applicable to all hazards.

In January 2002, CERT became part of the Citizen Corps, to expand a community’s resources for crime prevention and emergency response.

As of November 2011, 50 states, three territories and six foreign countries are using CERT training.

(from left to right): (2020) CERT Helicopter landing training by EMS crew. Providing rehab to Florence firemen running in the 911 salute to New York, Sept. 11, 2001 disaster. Providing rehab to Florence Fire Recruits at Central Arizona College.

You need to sign up to join our existing CERTs in the Community of Oracle by:
contacting Oracle Fire District; (520) 896-2980 or you can visit their website: and select Support Groups for more information.

CERT members receive 24 hours of initial training that is provided free of charge to anyone 18 or over. Additional classes are taught in a variety of dates and times continually throughout the year. Classes can come from different federal and local agencies such as: FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency, DEMA (Department of Emergency Management Agency), ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation), etc.

Well, it’s like paying for car insurance. You may never need it; you’d hope not. But if the occasion arises, having the CERT training, just like having car insurance, means you’re as ready as you can be to help yourself, your family and your neighborhood. The more training you have, the better prepared you are in an emergency.