CERT drill training
Search & Rescue Drills

We interrupt the regularly scheduled program of Mental Preparedness to bring you a post on CERT!

We hope you find this informational as you’re still mulling over what it means to be situationally aware in everyday situations.  I believe learning about CERT will help with what’s been shared so far and lead into Part 4 of the series next week with Emergency Situations.

Without further ado, let’s learn about CERT!

What is CERT?

CERT, also known as Community Emergency Response Team, is a FEMA program that “educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

How I like to explain it: CERT is comprised of trained volunteers that help first responders in emergency situations.

We’re kinda like Dwight from The Office–Assistant to the Manager. 

We assist where we’re needed but we don’t officially call the shots.

Why am I Talking About CERT?

If you are looking for a place to plug in with a community and learn skills, I highly recommend CERT!

Many of the other members of my class were also preppers. They made me feel not so alone in my journey of learning what it means to be prepared. Knowing there were more people in my neighborhood that cared about how to respond properly to emergency situations eased my anxieties at that time.

I realized at the first meeting that I brought the average age down below fifty, but I learned quite a bit from those who have been around the block a time or two!

A Program Overview

In the Spring of 2019, I learned about CERT while living in a small town outside of Dallas and joined the class. We learned about just about everything from CPR to Active Shooter scenarios, Tornadoes to Tourniquets.

I learned how to work with a team with the same goal in mind: be ready for anything!

Learning to fill wounds with sterilized gauze.
Learning to fill wounds with sterilized gauze.

I’m a hands-on learner so I greatly appreciated the opportunities they gave us to try everything for ourselves. Even a few kinda “gross” scenarios like filling open wounds with sterilized gauze and practicing with splints.

We learned radio calls and halfway through the class program, we had to learn to call over the radio properly and give our name using the Phonetic Alphabet. I still practice when I can.

One of my favorite parts of the program was running through drills with mock victims. We had to use the skills we’ve learned to search a building, call in each victim we found and their location, and find anything needing immediate attention like fallen wires or crumbling ceilings. After that, the rescue team goes in and gets each victim according to the severity of their situations.

We learned to search and evaluate and work as a team.

Many of the skills I learned with CERT I still put to use even though I don’t live in Texas any more. 

If you’re interested in finding a CERT community in your area, definitely check out the website

There are also lists of resources on their website for being ready in any scenario. I will say their checklists are a little basic, but they’re good resources nonetheless.

Let me know if you have any questions or your own stories of being a part of a CERT community. I’d love to hear them!

Until next time, Happy Prepping!