What is CERT?

Why take the CERT training?

How does CERT benefit the college community?

How is CERT funded?

Who can take the training?

How do I take CERT training?

What if I want to do more than just the basic training?

How do CERT members maintain their skills?

What if I have concerns about my age or physical ability?

What about liability?

Q: What is CERT?

A: The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) 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.


Q: Why take the CERT training?

A: The College prepares for everyday emergencies. However, there can be an emergency or disaster that can overwhelm the college community's immediate response capability. While adjacent jurisdictions, City, County, State and Federal resources can activate to help, there may be a delay for them getting to those who need them. The primary reason for CERT training is to give people the decision-making, organizational, and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors, and associates while waiting for help. While people will respond to others in need without the training, the goal of the CERT program is to help people do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.


Q: How does CERT benefit the community?

A: People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace. If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members can apply the training learned in the classroom and during exercises to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERTs provide useful information to responders and support their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site. CERT members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to distribute and/or install smoke alarms, replace smoke alarm batteries in the home of elderly, distribute disaster education material, provide services at special events.


Q: How is the CERT funded?

A: Here at Buffalo State College we are funded by the administration and grants.


Q: Who can take the training?

A: Faculty and Staff


Q: How do I take CERT training?

A: To become a CERT member, you will have to take the CERT training from our Task Force. Classes are posted at http://www.buffalostate.edu/cert/x505.xml.


Q: What if I want to do more than just the basic training?

A: CERT members can increase their knowledge and capability by attending classes provided on animal care, special needs concerns, donation management, community relations, shelter management, debris removal, utilities control, advanced first aid, Automatic External Defibrillator use, CPR skills, and others.


Q: How do CERT members maintain their skills?

A: The Emergency Response Planning Committee and the CERT Task Force work together to maintain team skills and the working partnership. All CERT members are invited to participate. If you have a special skill – EMT instructor, CPR instructor, First Aid instructor status you are encouraged to participate in classes as instructors by contacting the CERT Task Force at cert@buffalostate.edu.


Q: What if I have concerns about my age or physical ability?

A: There are many jobs within a CERT for someone who wants to be involved and help. Following a disaster, CERT members are needed for documentation, comforting others, logistics, etc. During CERT classroom training, if one has a concern about doing a skill like lifting, just let the instructor know. You can learn from watching. We would like everyone who wants to go through the training to have an opportunity to participate and learn the skills. CERT educates participants about local hazards and trains them in skills that are useful during disaster and life's everyday emergencies.


Q: What about liability?

A: The text of the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 is available for viewing. Also there is information about State Liability Laws located on the Citizen Corps website. During training, each sponsoring agency should brief its CERT members about their responsibilities as a CERT member and volunteer. Finally, there is a job aid on liability for you to review in our Start a CERT Program section.


The CERT material was developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department and adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1993. The CERT manual contains basic and straightforward material that has been accepted by those using it as the standard for training.

It is important to remember that the best sources of help in emergencies are professional responders. However, in situations when they are not immediately available, people will want to act and help. We have seen this time and again in our history. CERT training teaches skills that people can use to safely help while waiting for responders. The alternate is to do nothing and that is not in our nature.