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Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Be Ready to Help When Disaster Strikes…Join Orange County CERT!


What is the CERT Program?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program teaches participants how to provide basic emergency response services after a disaster.  Persons living or working in Orange County can form a CERT to meet critical needs in their area when first responders are unavailable.  CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Who Can Start a CERT?

Groups that already come together for a common purpose, such as neighborhood watch, scout groups, civic organizations, homeowner’s associations, and professional organizations.  Individual community members should also consider starting a neighborhood or workplace team.

What will I learn?

To start a CERT, groups must complete a 5-week training taught in or near their community by skilled health and safety professionals.  The training program includes the following courses:

  • Emergency Preparedness – This course will teach you how to prepare yourself, your family, and your neighborhood for natural and man-made disasters.  Information on making an emergency plan and disaster supply kit will be provided.
  • Fire Safety – In this course, a fire safety professional teaches you basic lessons in fire chemistry, hazardous materials and fire suppression.  You’ll practice using a fire extinguisher.
  • Emergency Medical Operations I & II – In these two courses, emergency service providers will teach you how to use basic first aid to treat life threatening conditions.  You’ll learn triage basics and how to treat airway obstructions, bleeding, and burns.
  • Light Search and Rescue – This course will teach you how to lead safe search and rescue missions.  You’ll learn how to search for and remove victims from a disaster scene.
  • Team Organization – In this course, you will learn how to maintain your CERT and document your team’s neighborhood response activities.
  • Disaster Psychology – This course overviews the mental impact of disaster on rescuers and victims.  You will learn how to provide “psychological first-aid” to support team members and victims without overstressing yourself.
  • Personal Safety and Property Protection – This course will teach you how to identify and handle personal safety threats when responding to a disaster.  It will also provide tips for staying safe and healthy during recovery.
  • Animal Care and Protection – This course will teach you how to make a disaster plan for your pets and how to provide basic first aid to injured animals. 
  • Course Review / Disaster Drill – The final part of CERT training is a full review of material taught throughout training and a disaster response exercise.

Benefits of Starting a CERT

Benefits of starting a CERT include free emergency preparedness training, immediate emergency response services after a disaster, and increased community involvement.  As an added bonus, CERT members receive educational materials, an emergency response gear, and certificate of completion.

When is the next training?

Cert Training Calendar 2015

Participants are strongly encouraged to register through the North Carolina  Training and Excerciese Management System (TERMS) in lieu of the paper application.  You can find the couse on the calendar under "Trainings & Exercises" in January 2015 listed as “G-317 (L).”  You will be required to register in TERMS.

Contact Josh Hollingsworth, Volunteer Coordinator

919-245-6138    Email Josh Hollingsworth

How do I register?

Online registration is available through by locating course dates on the calendar.  Interested person are encouraged to use the online registration instead of the paper forms.

Those interested may also download the CERT registration form and submit by mail, fax, or e-mail.  If registering as a part of a team, each team member should complete an Individual Registration Form and the team’s contact person should complete the Group Registration Form

Is there a fee?



Join the CERT Mailing List to receive the CERT Alert newsletter and other program announcements mostly by e-mail.

For more information contact:

Josh Hollingsworth

Volunteer Coordinator