The Federal Emergency Management Agency, using the model created by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, began promoting nationwide use of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept in 1994. Since then, CERTs have been established in hundreds of communities.
CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services - Vashon Island Fire Rescue (VIFR) - and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train community members in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.
If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. CERT skills also apply to daily emergencies.
CERT members maintain and refine their skills by participating in exercises and activities. They can attend supplemental training opportunities offered by the sponsoring agency and others that further their skills base. Finally, CERT members can volunteer for projects that improve community emergency preparedness.
CERT operates under VIFR's Operations Section during an emergency. When not activated, CERT works closely with all VashonBePrepared's various groups such as MRC, ARES, VEPC, and especially Vashon Island Fire & Rescue's professional staff and volunteers. During major events CERT may maintain command posts, co-located with the ARES LACCs.
For information on Vashon CERT, contact Vashon CERT Program Managers, Michael and Catherine Cochrane at 463-4558 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.