Regional Community Policing Institute - California

Links & Resources - Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training
A service provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Leroy D. Baca
and administered by the Community Law Enforcement Partnership Programs Unit
C.L.E.P.P. (323) 526-5015 / email:

Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (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 makes good sense and 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.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster.

CERT training is open to anyone who is interested in Life Saving Skills, Disaster Preparedness, Fire Suppression, Cribbing, Light Search & Rescue, Triage, and Head to Toe Assessment. The class is a total of 21 hours that must be completed to receive the FEMA Certificate of Completion.
Training is designed to cover the following:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Disaster Medical Operations - Triage and Treating Life Threatening Injuries
  • Disaster Medical Operations - Assessment, Treatment, and Hygiene
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • Team Organization
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Terrorism and CERT
  • Final Exercise

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is providing CERT Training Courses in coordination with the Regional Community Policing Institute of California in the Los Angeles County Operational Area.

To register online for an upcoming LASD CERT course please visit: RCPI-CA Class Schedule
or contact the Community Law Enforcement Partnership Programs Unit at 323-526-5015 or email:

Maintaining Involvement

When participants have completed this training, it is important to keep them involved and practiced in their skills. Trainers should offer periodic refresher sessions to reinforce the basic training. CERT teams can sponsor events such as drills, picnics, neighborhood clean up, and disaster education fairs which will keep them involved and trained. First responders need to be educated about the CERT and their value to the community. Using CERT as a component of the response system when there are exercises for potential disasters can reinforce this idea. Joining an affiliated agency like a Police or Sheriff's Volunteer Program, Volunteer with the American Red Cross or Salvation Army are only a few opportunities to assist agencies aiding during disasters. Maintaining a response system of affiliated volunteers has proven to be successful in responding to disasters and emergencies under national and state guidelines under SEMS/NIMS (Standardized Emergency Management System / National Incident Management System).

More information on CERT in the Los Angeles Area:

National CERT information visit:

State CERT information and other volunteer opportunities visit:

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