About Vashon CERT

Vashon CERT Logo
The basic CERT course is offered on Vashon in 3 parts.  Each part is a pre-requisite for the next.

Part 1:  Household Preparedness & Safety; How Vashon Will Tick in a Disaster

2022 dates:  course will start when Covid conditions permit
Location TBD - indoors or outdoors, depending on Covid conditions
Sign-up required; please email cert@vashonbeprepared.org
Leaders of Vashon's non-profit citizen response teams, Vashon Fire Dept and Puget Sound Energy offer a packed 5-hour seminar on how to prepare to be self-sufficient, well fed, safe and reasonably comfortable in a disaster that could isolate our island for days or weeks.  Natural gas, electrical and fire experts will cover general safety about those issues plus disaster response options.  

Part 2:  24 more hours of Fire/Chemical/Utility Safety, Search & Rescue, Advanced First Aid and Medical Triage

2022 dates TBD
Enrollment limited based on Covid distancing requirements; sign-up required by emailing cert@vashonbeprepared.org
Fire Dept officers will cover most of this curriculum, giving you skills in light fire fighting, safely removing someone buried in debris or crushed by a car or similar, treating life-threatening injuries, splinting and more advanced first aid skills.  Participants must wear long pants and "work clothes" for these trainings.  If you have physical limitations, special needs, or just plain sore knees, just let the instructor know and we'll gladly accommodate you.  Anyone can take this course.
Pre-requisite:  The part 1 preparedness seminar

Part 3:  How CERT-trained citizens work as a team

...to accomplish life-saving and community service projects in disaster situations. We'll teach you how we work as a team and what the team would likely do on Vashon in earthquake and severe weather situations as well as searching for a missing person and supporting Covid testing and vaccinations.  This includes how we organize ourselves, administration and logistics to support our activities, team accountability, communications and safety.

2022 dates TBD
Part 3 is for people who want to consider joining the active Vashon CERT team.  Additional training is offered beyond this course, and the minimum requirement to stay active is to attend 4 trainings per year after completing a five more one-time classes, each 2-4 hours.
Pre-requisite:  Parts 1 and 2 above.

Training Curriculum

CERT training includes…

  1. The types of hazards most likely to affect their homes and communities
  2. Many possible roles for CERT teams
  3. Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in homes & workplaces.
  4. Basic fire suppression strategies, resources, and safety measures
  5. First aid including opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating shock
  6. Conducting medical triage under simulated mass-casualty conditions.
  7. Perform head-to-toe assessments of injured persons
  8. Select and set up make-shift medical treatment areas
  9. First aid for wounds, burns, broken bones and other injuries
  10. Planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations
  11. Common techniques for searching a structure
  12. Safe techniques for moving debris to extricate a trapped person 
  13. Organizational and teamwork strategies for effective and safe CERT operation

Vashon CERT Training

Since the first Vashon Island class in 2005, the basic course has been offered almost annually with about 400 graduates. Currently about 80 are on the active team.

CERT now offers the basic course every other year.  The course involves 48 hours of training in the topics listed above, including a one-day wrap up with workshops and a simulated earthquake disaster response effort.  Instructors are professionals with Vashon Island Fire and Rescue, experienced CERT volunteers and specialists in selected topics.

The next full course will be offered on Vashon in 2020.  All trainings are at the Farcy training center (main fire station on Bank Road); pre-registration required; no fee but there are a few minor supplies each student should provide for him/herself (disposable gloves, dust mask, safety glasses and appropriate work clothing for practicing some skills outside). 

Registration will be open as soon as dates are set and posted here.

Contact Us

Jan Milligan, CERT Manager


About CERT

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 team members plan their route for a practice search and rescue exercise before departing from the Command Post.  Teams of 4 people typically comprise a search team.  Pictured above, L to R, are Rachel Larson, Jan Lyell, Jim Lilje, Dick Danielson and Kim Nelson.











 CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services - Vashon Island Fire Rescue (VIFR) as well as the King County Sheriff - and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train community members in basic response skills including search and rescue, disaster response, first aid,

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 lives following a disaster. CERT skills also apply to household and business emergencies.

CERT members maintain and refine their skills at periodic trainings.  Trainings include rehearsal of search procedures both in the outdoors and in buildings, hands-on practice of seldom-used but critical first aid skills, enrichment topics such as orienteering, map reading and HAM radio training, and many options for attending related trainings from the Red Cross and other organizations.