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Community Emergency Response Teams


Kentucky is vulnerable to a wide range of disasters, including tornados, earthquakes, ice storms and floods. In the early minutes, hours and possibly days of these disasters, emergency responders may not be able to reach all citizens due to the number of emergency situations or road conditions.

To allow citizens to be ready and prepared for this type of event, Kentucky has embraced a national program known as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). This program educates people about disaster preparedness for 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.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouarged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety and doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference.

CERT was initially developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. Later the Emergency Management Institute, and the National Fire Academy modified the program for use by all states and invited each state to send a representative to the National Emergency Training Center to be certified as a Master Instructor Trainer.

State Fire Rescue Training was selected to serve in this instructor trainer role. SFRT now has CERT instructor trainers in each of our 14 areas. Periodically, as needed, SFRT conducts CERT instructor trainer programs. Instructors developed through this process teach the CERT program to citizens at the local level.

The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security coordinates the Kentucky CERT Program and schedules instructor trainer programs. Several Area Development Districts have been active in facilitating the CERT program at the local level. Many CERT teams function through their county emergency management office.

For more information on the CERT Program, contact the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security at 502-564-2081.

Contact State Fire Rescue Training at 800-782-6823 for more information on CERT instructor training.