Train to be a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer

Friday, October 5, 2018

Learn the skills needed to help your family, neighbors, and colleagues during a disaster by training as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer.

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a program of the US Citizen Corps which is managed nationally by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program trains community volunteers in basic disaster response skills so family, neighbors, or community can be effectively and efficiently helped during an emergency. Here in Benton County, CERT is coordinated by volunteers under the sponsorship of the Emergency Services Division of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

CERT volunteers learn about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact our area. Through classroom and hands-on exercises, they are trained in basic disaster response skills including fire safety, building search and rescue, team organization, disaster medical operations, and much more!

Although CERT volunteers do not replace professional responders, they may be called out to an emergency and asked to respond as they are available and able if a disaster strikes.  The volunteers are trained to assist others in the community until professional responders are available.

After completing Basic CERT training, the volunteers are expected to attend periodic training refreshers to keep their skills sharp. CERT volunteers are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking an active role in emergency preparedness projects.

Any adult interested in helping during a disaster and capable of basic mobility can apply. The application process includes a criminal history check. Benton County’s CERT program is geared toward adults, so applicants must be at least 18-years-old.

Once accepted into the program, participants must successfully complete the Basic CERT training program to become CERT-certified.

The Basic CERT Training is free and consists of nine separate units presented over a course of days.  Classes are scheduled as certified volunteer trainers are available.

Applicants to the program must complete both the CERT Registration Form & Waiver and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Application. For a schedule of classes and to apply, visit co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/cert-training-and-registration.