What is CERT?

Not IF.... But WHEN...

About CERT

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The CERT program prepares citizens to safely help themselves, their families, and their communities in the event of major disasters where first responders are delayed.

The origins of CERT are in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed as many as 10,000 people. After the quake, untrained spontaneous volunteers rescued 800 of their fellow citizens. However, in the process, 100 of those volunteer rescuers lost their lives. Afterwards, the Los Angeles Fire Department developed a program to train people so they could safely help their communities after an earthquake, in what became CERT. It's now a nationwide program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that takes an "all-hazards" approach to community preparedness and response. See more information about the CERT program at the FEMA web site. 

About CERT in Farifax County

The Fairfax County CERT program was established in January 2003, and is administered by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department thrugh the Office of the Volunteer Liaison. Four adjunct instructors from the Fire and Rescue Academy are currently authorized to teach the CERT program, along with twenty additional CERT volunteers as authorized trainers.

Additional information about Fairfax County CERT is available at the Citizen Corps web site. 


Fairfax County CERT Leadership

Local Neighborhood CERT Teams

 The Fairfax County CERT TEAMs program develops local CERT groups within the larger county CERT program. A CERT TEAM can be established in a neighborhood, in a house of worship, in a workplace, or in any other setting where people may congregate.  Consistent with the CERT mission, the goal of this effort is to encourage and foster the formation of Local CERT TEAM by bringing together interested CERTs who live or work in close proximity to each other, to form TEAMs capable of responding locally to disasters when professional responders are overwhelmed or delayed in their ability to respond; “neighbors helping neighbors.”   Our local CERT TEAMs are growing and we want to continue to build this capability. CERT  students and graduates can find out more and join a nearby TEAM by contacting the TEAMS Coordinator


Emergency Management chain

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Fairfax Office of Emergency Management


Nearby CERTs

Arlington CERT


City of Alexandria CERT


City of Fairfax CERT


Anna Arundel - Annapolis (MD) CERT


Montgomery (MD) CERT


Prince George County (MD) CERT


Form to request more information

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