Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

During a large-scale disaster, the response of any community’s emergency services may be delayed or overwhelmed for a variety of reasons.  This leaves the citizens of the community - family, neighbors, and co-workers - to provide for their own well-being and safety until professional responders arrive.  As a member of the community, you can help the City respond to a disaster by preparing your family, home, school and work. This reality is the cornerstone of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.

The goal of the Irvine CERT program is to provide private citizens with the basic skills they will need to protect themselves, their family, and neighbors, and to respond to the immediate needs of the community in the aftermath of a disaster when emergency services are not readily available.  Furthermore it is our goal to have an active CERT member on each street or at each business in Irvine.  By working together, CERT members can assist in saving lives and protecting property using the basic techniques in this course.

The CERT program is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.  The program provides a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference.  CERT is a community based volunteer effort and is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Citizen Corps program.

The CERT program strives to familiarize citizens with the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in their community and to deliver the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness. Through didactic and hands-on sessions they receive training in needed life saving skills with emphasis on decision making, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

The CERT program includes eight units delivered in 3 ½ hour sessions:

  1. Emergency Preparedness
  2. Fire Safety
  3. Emergency Medical Operations I
  4. Emergency Medical Operations II
  5. Light Search and Rescue I
  6. Light Search and Rescue II
  7. Disaster Psychology/ CERT Organization
  8. Disaster Simulation/Exercise


 More specifically CERT training teaches participants to:

  • Identify types of hazards likely to affect their homes and communities.
  • Describe the function of CERT and their roles in immediate response.
  • Take steps to prepare themselves for a disaster.
  • Identify and reduce fire hazards in their homes and workplaces.
  • Work as a team to apply basic fire suppression strategies, resources, and safety measures to extinguish a burning liquid.
  • Apply techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding and treating shock.
  • Conduct triage under simulated conditions.
  • Perform head-to-toe assessments.
  • Select and set up a treatment area.
  • Employ basic treatments for various wounds.
  • Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations.
  • Use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extrication.
  • Describe ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue.
  • Manage utilities and put out small fires
  • Treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock
  • Provide basic medical aid
  • Search for and rescue victims safely
  • CERT training is focused on interactive discussions and hands-on activities.  Some equipment will be furnished to trainees.  Upon completion of the training, graduates are encouraged to share what they have learned with their neighbors.  Follow-up training and support sessions are also offered to CERT graduates.

For more information on Disaster Preparedness, please also visit

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have general questions regarding the program, email the Irvine CERT Program Volunteer Sandy Barnes at, or fill out the interest form and submit it electronically:

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