Community Emergency Response Team

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was originally developed by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985. They recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. Some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills can improve the ability of ordinary citizens to survive until outside assistance arrives.

Building on the CERT concept, the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department has trained several hundred people in CERT techniques since its inception in 1996 (more than 28 from Riverside Park). The training consists of eight two-hour evening sessions, one per week, covering disaster preparedness, fire suppression, first aid, CPR, and search-and-rescue operations. Fire Rescue also provides several refresher courses and additional training each year as well as equipping CERT volunteers with basic first aid equipment and two-way radios.

In the aftermath of a disaster, normal methods of communication would be disrupted: phones out of service, roads blocked, etc. Each CERT team would be equipped with two-way radios for communicating with City emergency services. These teams would organize and search the neighborhood for injuries and hazardous conditions and report back to Fire-Rescue. They would also administer first aid when necessary and clear trees and other debris from roads to allow rescue equipment access to the neighborhood.

If you are interested in becoming a CERT team member, or for more information, see the City of Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department CERT Web site or contact the Board.

CERT Curriculum

(Note: The curriculum may change at any time.)

Class 1 – Introduction; Disaster Preparation

  • Rapid impact assessment

Class 2 – Disaster Psychology; CERT Team Organization

  • Disaster emotional environment
  • CERT team structure and mobilization

Class 3 – Basic Fire Suppression

  • Patient assessment
  • Basic first aid

Class 4 – Disaster Medical Operations I

  • Patient assessment
  • Basic first aid

Class 5 – Disaster Medical Operations II

  • Basic first aid
  • Triage

Class 6 – Terrorism and CERT

  • NICE weapons and characteristics
  • Target selection
  • Safety

Class 7 – Light Search and Rescue

  • Search and rescue operations
  • Safety precautions

Class 8 – Review and Graduation

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