The Citizen Corps Program provides opportunity for citizen volunteers to become active and involved in homeland security and emergency management activities designed to make individuals, their families and their communities safer, stronger and better prepared to deal with a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. Citizen Corps offers five (5) core programs:
In addition, Citizen Corps advocates and supports citizen involvement in any other volunteer oriented program designed and/or formed to support these goals.
Our National strategy for Citizen Corps program implementation and overall citizen preparedness is based on a teamwork, partnership and collaboration approach. Citizen Corps programs and activities are coordinated by a network of Councils established to facilitate the growth and development of the programs.
The CERT concept dates back to 1985, when the Los Angeles Fire Department recognized that in the early stages of a disaster - earthquakes in particular - local emergency responders would be overwhelmed, and basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of community members to survive until responders or other assistance arrived.
Recognizing the universal value of this program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked in conjunction with the LAFD to make the CERT program applicable to all types of hazards and developed a CERT training program which could be used nationwide and adapted to meet local conditions when the need arose.
The tragic events of September 11 remind us that disaster can strike anywhere or anytime, and that basic safety and disaster survival skills can mean the difference between life and death. CERT training empowers community members to prepare responsibly and respond appropriately when emergencies occur.
CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
If you join a CERT, you will receive basic-level training in the following sessions:
Total training is usually about 20 hours, scheduled in 2-4 hour modules, over a period of weeks or months, in order to address the scheduling needs of team members. It's held in the community or county where you live.
Training courses, student materials and equipment are provided free of charge.
If you are an individual looking to join a local CERT Team, contact your municipal emergency management coordinator to see if the program is already active in your community, or if a CERT program is being developed.
To find the telephone number of the municipal emergency management office, look in the telephone directory or search CERT programs by zip code by visiting FEMA website at http://www.citizencorps.fema.gov/cc/searchCert.do?submitByZip
In addition, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain information about US FDRC teams forming in your area.
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US FDRC reservist members are eligible to participate in numerous training programs including at the National Fire Academy, Emergency Management Institute, Center for Domestics Preparedness, and many others governmental and non-governmental organizations.