A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
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FEMA Releases Updated Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training Curriculum

January 2020

Campers at the FEMA Region 10 Youth Preparedness Camp pose during a CERT drill.

FEMA released the updated Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training Course materials on January 8, 2020.

CERT Basic Training is a foundational course that provides new CERT volunteers an overview of different types of emergencies and shares ways teams can provide response and assistance. The curriculum covers topics in disaster preparedness, fire, medical operations, search and rescue, and team building. The CERT Basic Training Course has been updated to include guidance for emerging types of emergency response, individual and community hazards, and to incorporate feedback from registered CERTs. The updated training also includes revisions to the sections on medical operations, terrorism, and disaster psychology, among others. The CERT Basic Training Course Instructor Guide shares many best practices and tips on how to run a successful CERT.

The updated course will also be released in new languages. In addition to English, the updated CERT Basic Training Course will be available in Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese later in 2020.

To update the course materials, FEMA engaged with technical experts from colleges and universities, partners from within the government, and FEMA learning and training subject matter experts. This coordination was essential to update the course using recent, validated information with participants in mind.

FEMA hosted a webinar on December 10 outlining the updated CERT Basic Training Course. You can view the recording of the December 10 webinar here. As a reminder, don’t forget to make sure that your local CERT is registered. To learn more about CERT, and see other trainings available, visit Ready.gov/cert!

Frequently Asked Questions:

New Course Availability
Q: When will we be able to order new CERT Basic Training Course Instructor Guides and Participant Manuals?

A: The updated CERT Basic Training Course materials will be available on ready.gov/cert and for ordering through the ICPD publications warehouse on January 8, 2020.

After ordering, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks for shipping and delivery. We recommend that any courses scheduled for PRIOR to March 2020 continue with the existing curriculum. Orders placed on January 8, 2020 should arrive in time for training courses scheduled for March 2020 or after.

If you have recently ordered CERT Basic Training Course Instructor Guides or Participant Manuals or have a supply of materials currently, there is no need to reorder immediately as the content is similar.

Additionally, instructors do not need to re-take CERT Train-the-Trainer Course to facilitate the updated CERT Basic Training Course. Please familiarize yourself and be sure to use the revised CERT Basic Training Course Instructor Guide as it has content for facilitation not in the CERT Basic Training Course Participant Manual.

Q: When will the Vietnamese curriculum be available?

A: We anticipate CERT Basic Training Course Instructor Guides and Participant Manuals in additional languages will be available in print from the warehouse in Spring 2020. They will be posted to ready.gov/cert for digital download on January 8, 2020 along with the English version. Please check the ready.gov/cert page for updates and announcements. binar Resources

Q: I am unable to access the links in the Adobe Connect room. Can you repost?

A: To access information regarding FEMA, ICPD, CERT, and preparedness efforts, please visit the following links:

CERT Train-the-Trainer Course
Q: Will you be offering a course that focuses on teaching the CERT Train-the-Trainer Course?

A: Instructors that teach the CERT Train-the-Trainer Course nationally with FEMA credentials are selected in cooperation with the Emergency Management Institute, please visit www.training.fema.gov for details on these opportunities.

Q: Is it safe to assume that new CERT Train-the-Trainer Courses, starting January 2020, will include the new material?

A: Yes. The CERT Train-the-Trainer Course and CERT Program Manager Course are being updated to reflect the revised materials and will be release later in 2020.

CERT Curriculum Content
Q: Is the current CERT curriculum considered outdated and useless now?

A: No, your old materials remain relevant, we recommend that you continue using them until you receive new materials AND your trainers have reviewed the CERT Basic Training Instructor Guide and are ready to present the new materials.

Q: Can you give an example of “Hands On”?

A: By "Hands On" we suggest that trainers include props, simulations, and conduct exercises during the CERT Basic Training Course. By providing props and items that CERT members may use in a response effort, individuals can become familiar with feel of materials, proper use of equipment, and retain knowledge and tips.

Q: Is Stop the Bleed included in the Basic CERT training?

A: Stop the Bleed is not included in the CERT Basic Training Course. You may add this training with the approval of your sponsoring organization.

Q: How will triage be covered in the CERT Curriculum?

A: Triage is covered at a familiarization level only.

Feedback received in the review of the 2012 materials indicated that many sponsoring organizations were uncomfortable teaching triage as outlined because local procedures often vary widely from the curriculum materials. The triage component was not serving a national audience. Additionally, many leaders were not comfortable with placing lay-persons in the position of categorizing the injured without more extensive medical training than is offered in CERT Basic.

The CERT Basic Training Instructor Guide emphasizes that programs should localize training. If a sponsoring organization has qualified instructors, and wants to teach triage in their CERT Courses, they may do so.

This change empowers state, local, tribal and territorial program sponsors to better tailor training and will remove a significant point of concern for other localities considering adoption of CERT in their area.

Customizing CERT Training Materials
Q: How should programs alter the CERT Basic Training Course facilitation to include additional programs such as Stop the Bleed, Until Help Arrives, CPR, AED, etc...?

A: Programs may, with the agreement and supervision of their sponsoring organization, add elements to, but not take away from the CERT Basic Training Course curriculum. This might include elements such as triage, or courses such as Stop the Bleed, or CPR (when provided by qualified instructors as proscribed by the American Heart Association). Programs are encouraged to adopt You Are the Help Until Help Arrives not only for members, but as outreach programming within their communities.

Q: Does FEMA have issue with customizing a "shorter" duration of the CERT Basic Training Course?

A: Training deliveries must cover all topics and meet the training goals and objectives of the CERT Basic Training Course to the satisfaction of the respective program state, and or sponsoring organization. We recommend that you train to standard, not to time and that the course be taught in manageable segments to accommodate volunteer and trainer schedules.

Q: Can we please have an official statement in writing on the CERT site that says that instructors are encouraged to seek and use credible information from recognized sources?

A: FEMA will be releasing a consolidated CERT Program Guide in 2020 covering this and other relevant topics.

Q: Is there something on the CERT site itself that says specifically that CERT instructors can say things that aren't in the CERT curriculum?

A: FEMA will be releasing a consolidated CERT Program Guide in 2020 covering this and other relevant topics.

This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here.