A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
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Updates to CERT Supplemental Materials

February 2020

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) play a vital role assisting local authorities during response and recovery activities. Because of the required cross-training, CERTs can fill gaps or act as additional resources by learning about topics such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Additional training is also available to CERT members, ranging from Tools for Leadership Success to Animal Response (Module 1, Module 2). These trainings have given CERT members other opportunities to help their communities. In fact, CERT Animal Response Teams have played important roles in recent wildfires. During the 2018 Camp Fire, Sacramento CERT led the setup of multiple animal shelters at a local airport. These shelters housed close to 2,000 animals, ranging from cats and dogs to chickens and tortoises.

“The two CERT Animal Response modules are integral to the success of our Animal Response Team training,” said Robert Ross, Chief of Operations for Sacramento CERT. “We use the FEMA Animal I/II courses as prerequisites to our Animal Sheltering Class. These two modules have a lot of very good information on animal behavior and signs that we feel our members must know about before trying to handle animals in an emergency shelter situation.”

FEMA is continuing to update CERT training to ensure it is consistent with current methods. The following training modules will be updated in 2020:

  • Community Emergency Response Team Animal Module I;
  • Community Emergency Response Team Animal Response Module II;
  • Community Emergency Response Team Drills and Exercises;
  • Community Emergency Response Team Firefighter Rehab;
  • CERT Traffic and Crowd Management Module; and
  • CERT Tools for Leadership Success Module.

Additionally, FEMA will be developing two new modules on building community preparedness and serving communities with access and functional needs. If you are interested in participating in updating any of these existing courses or developing new training courses, please contact us at FEMA-Prepare@fema.dhs.gov.

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