“To provide information and training on disaster preparedness, support for the first responders, provide leadership and coordination for volunteers and provide post-emergency assistance to victims.”
History and Future
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept began in Los Angeles, California when the Fire Department recognized that citizens were very likely to be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster such as an earthquake. They developed a Disaster Preparedness Division for the purpose of training citizens in the CERT concept of citizen-responders, helping others when professional responders are overwhelmed or not immediately available.
The training program the LAFD initiated proved to be so beneficial that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took the concept nationwide.
CERT operates under the Citizen Corps Council plan that brings together community first responders, fire fighters, law enforcement, EMS, emergency managers, and the volunteer community to involve all citizens in emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, crime prevention, and emergency medical training.
At a national level, Citizen Corps includes:
- FEMA’s CERT training program.
- The Justice Department’s Neighborhood Watch, Operation TIPS, and Volunteers in Police Service.
- The Department of Health and Human Services’ Medical Reserve Corps.
After September 11,2001, President George W. Bush launched the USA Freedom Corps initiative to inspire and enable all Americans to find ways to serve their community, their country, or the world. Today, the Citizen Corps is a component of USA Freedom Corps. Through the program, citizens can volunteer to help their communities to prepare for and respond to emergencies by bringing together a network of citizens to assist first responders, such as fire departments, law enforcement, and EMS.
Want more information?
Visit the Hays County CERT Website