Not IF.... But WHEN...
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.
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
The information and opinions expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy nor position of FEMA, Virginia, Fairfax County, nor any other government or agency.