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.
2023 dates:  Saturdays, April 22 through June 17 (except May 27)
Location:  main Vashon fire station.  Both indoors or outdoors, depending on topic each day
Sign-up required; please email cert@vashonbeprepared.org 
Cost:  free; students provide a small amount of personal equipment (work gloves, mask, work clothes and gear for whatever weather we have on the outdoor days, safety glasses, your own lunch each day except a couple of them when it will be provided)
Course limited to 24 adults.  We are unable to train youth under 18 years at this time.

Part 1:  Household Preparedness & Safety

April 22        9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A packed 5-hour seminar covering self-sufficiency in a disaster, being well fed, safe and reasonably comfortable in a situation that could isolate our island and shut down most services for days or weeks.  Also, natural gas, electrical and fire specialists will cover general household safety about those issues plus lots of disaster response options.  Includes one hour lunch break, 11:30 - 12:30.

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

April 29, May 6, 13 and 20     9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Learn light fire fighting, safely removing someone buried in debris or crushed by a car or similar, treating life-threatening injuries, splinting and other advanced first aid skills.  Participants must wear long pants and "work clothes" for these trainings, and be prepared for whatever weather happens on the days we are outside.  If you have physical limitations, special needs, or just plain sore knees, just let the instructor know and we'll gladly accommodate you. 
This is NOT a CPR class. Vashon Fire will soon be offering CPR and other very basic first aid for the public!
Pre-requisite:  The part 1 preparedness seminar

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

June 3, 10, 17        9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
...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.
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 requirements to stay active are to attend 4 trainings per year after completing a five more one-time classes, each 3-4 hours, plus be the quintessential responsible and accountable person!
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 basic CERT course is just the beginning and offers a slate of skills enabling citizens to stay out of trouble in many rescue and response situations.  The basic course falls short of teaching much about the details of working with our Vashon team; students must continue through additional training for that. 

Registration is open NOW for the spring 2023 course!   Email:  cert@vashonbeprepared.org

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, general disaster response, first aid and safety working around utilities and fires.

CERT team members maintain and refine their skills at periodic trainings.  Enrichment training topics such as orienteering, map reading and HAM radio training, and many options for attending related trainings from the Red Cross, FEMA and other organizations.