The CERT News
Since September 11, 2001, Americans have demonstrated a genuine commitment to serving
communities. Citizen Corps was created to answer the questions “What can I do?”
and “How can I help?”
Citizen Corps is a component of President Bush's USA Freedom Corps initiative and
was created to allow every American the opportunity to engage in family and community
safety programs. The components of the Citizen Corp Program are: Neighborhood Watch,
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Fire Corps, Volunteers in Police Service
(VIPS) and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). For additional information on these
components visit the California Service Corps (CSC) Web Site at http://www.csc.ca.gov.
The San Bernardino County Citizen Corps Program is designed to engage residents
in community and family safety programs by helping to prepare family and neighbors
in the event of a disaster.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department/Office of Emergency Services (OES) is
preparing communities for emergencies, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism
by creating a Citizen Corps Sub-Council Standard Operating Procure (SOP) for the
County unincorporated areas.
The purpose of this SOP is to provide
a standardized approach and structure for creating Citizen Corps Sub-Councils in
the unincorporated areas of the County. The SOP is under development and scheduled
for release in late June 2005. Trained and equipped citizens are citizens who know
what to do in a crisis. Citizen Corps Sub-Councils membership could be an existing
group that supports and brings together different sectors of the community. The
Sub-Council will provide leadership and a link to the local fire department for
program guidance in the Unincorporated County areas. Duties of a Sub-Council could
include educating the public on safety, helping citizens take an active role in
protecting themselves from harm, teaching citizens what to do in a crisis. Citizen
Corps Sub Councils can effectively utilize the time, talents, and interests of volunteers
in support of first responders and overall community preparedness.
The creation of Sub-Councils will allow the unincorporated areas the ability to
participate in Citizen Corps Programs.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Community Emergency Response Teams
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster
preparedness and trains them in basic response skills, such as fire safety, light
search and rescue, and disaster medial operations. Using their training, CERT members
can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can
take a more active role in preparing their community. The Department of Homeland
Security administers the program.
Bernardino County Program participants will receive a CERT Emergency Response Kit.
These kits contain a green CERT labeled backpack, green CERT labeled safety helmet,
chinstrap, and a green CERT labeled vest and participant training manual.
There are currently nine (9) jurisdictions supporting Citizen Corps Programs with
in the County. They are: San Bernardino County, Town of Apple Valley, Town of Yucca
Valley, City of Colton, City of Fontana, City of Loma Linda, City of Rialto, City
of Redlands, and City of Victorville. The communities of Helendale, Morongo Basin,
Lucerne Valley, Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinion Hills, and Green Valley Lake are establishing
The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in seven sessions, one
evening a week over a 7-week period. The class time commitment is a total of 20
hours. The training consists of the following:
Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable
in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families
take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor
begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin
to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family
members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate
manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws
governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous
materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of
this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling
utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing
and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and
rapid treatment techniques.
Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients
by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing
basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and
rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important,
Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms
that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization
and management principles and the need for documentation.
Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their
answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they
have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
During each session participants are required to purchase and bring safety equipment
(gloves, goggles, mask) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings)
that will be used during the session. By doing this for each session, participants
are building their own disaster response kit of items that they will need during
For additional or updated information about the San Bernardino County unincorporated
areas CERT Program contact: San Bernardino County Fire Department Office of Emergency
Services at 909.356.3998.
for photos of the CERT Academy Class