Community Emergency Response Team

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a FREE training program that educates individuals and neighborhoods about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may occur where they live. The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985.

The devastating Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories. Each is unique to its community and all are essential to building a Culture of Preparedness in the United States. Our local CERT programs are the Umpqua Valley CERT, serving inland Douglas County and the Reedsport CERT, serving our coastal county communities.

CERT In Action

Community Emergency Response Team members from California, Florida, and Texas explain how they come together to prepare their communities and assist their neighbors during emergencies.

Umpqua Valley CERT Basic Training

The CERT Basic Training includes research-validated guidance for citizens on what to do before, during and after the hazards their communities may face. The basic training curriculum is nationwide, designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the aim to teach everyday community members how to prepare for and safely respond after a disaster when professional responders will be delayed or unavailable. The course is free and is generally held locally in the Spring and Fall in partnership with Douglas County Fire District No. 2

Post disaster and emergency investigations have shown most people in a disaster situation are rescued by neighbors, family and friends, and that there can be deaths and injuries as the result of these rescue attempts. Because of this, CERT's goal is to give people the knowledge and understanding of how to respond to a situation safely. The curriculum covers regional natural disasters, terrorist events, shooters, search and rescue, fire safety, medical operations, and more. The course culminates with a disaster simulation training, which acts as a part of the graduation ceremony.

After graduation trainees are welcome to register with the county to be an active volunteer in the event of a real emergency, but it is not required for training participation. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT. members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the preparedness and safety of the community.