About Vashon CERT

Vashon CERT Logo

The 2024 basic CERT course is offered on Vashon in two parts:

Parts One and Two - Intro to Disaster Response Skills for Citizens
Five Saturdays, January 13 through February 10 from 9:00 to 3:00 each day
Jan 13 at Vashon Methodist Church, 17928 Vashon Hwy SW
Jan 20 and all other classes at Farcy building, main campus of Vashon Fire, 10019 SW Bank Rd.
Part One, January 13:  Household preparedness for disasters when many local services, communications and transportation would be compromised; prevention of home fires and electrical safety issues
Part Two on four successive Saturdays:
Light fire fighting including how to extinguish different types of fires
Propane and natural gas safety
Introduction to generators
Light rescue techniques: cribbing; searching inside a building
First aid and patient care for wounds large and small, broken bones, shock, etc.
Carrying an injured person, both with a sturdy litter designed for this and with makeshift gear that might be all you have in a disaster

Part Three:  Team organization and response on Vashon Island
Saturdays, February 17 through March 9  from 9:00 to 3:00 each day at main Vashon fire station (March 2 will run until about 4:00)
PRE-REQUISITE:  Part One (above) or previous CERT training on Vashon or elsewhere
Organizing a CERT team for neighborhood or island disaster response; we'll run a simulated earthquake response (a short drill)
How Vashon CERT works, its roles and functions; the types of incidents for which we can serve
How you can be part of Vashon CERT or support the island's disaster response planning efforts in other ways

Sign-up required; please email CERT@VashonBePrepared.org and expect a confirmation (if you don't get one, email or call again)
Cost:  free (courtesy of the volunteer team that is Vashon CERT and with much support from Vashon Island Fire & Rescue)
Participants provide:  small amount of personal equipment:  medium to light-duty work gloves, mask, work clothes and gear for whatever weather we have on the outdoor days, safety glasses, your own lunch each day, knee pads for first aid practice if you want some knee protection
Participant guidelines:  no symptoms of Covid or other infections diseases, face mask required (N95 preferred), sober, alert, follow instructions, quiet your cell phone, tie back long hair for skill sessions , wear clothing that can't easily get caught in supplies/equipment we'll be using, and able to attend most sessions of the course (make-up sessions are tough for us to arrange)
Physical requirements:  nothing in particular is required except a mask, but be awarre that most skills involve walking and carrying gear, some involve kneeling, one skill involves crawling.  You do NOT have to be able to do everything.  Some time each week is spent in the classroom, sitting in chairs (but we work hard not to bore you with lectures!)
Who are the instructors?  The Fire Chief, assistant chiefs and officers with Vashon Fire & Rescue, plus the seasoned volunteers who lead and manage the Vashon CERT team and participate with other leaders within VashonBePrepared
Lunch breaks and daily schedule:  Class may end before 3:00 on some days.  A one-hour lunch will be on your own, an the exact timing will vary a bit from week to week. 
Each part limited to 24 adults.  We are unable to train youth under 18 years at this time except on January 13 if accompanied by an adult

WHO are the Vashon CERT team members?

The team is talented and diverse:

  • Accountants, non-profit executives, lawyers, EMT's, writers, artists, engineers, mechanics, teachers, principals, marketing professionals
  • Working and retired folks...ages 30-something to ninety
  • Men and women
  • Some strong and some not
  • A few multi-lingual
  • Some good at paperwork and support, others want only to work with "boots on the ground"
  • Some leaders, some not
  • All trained and attentive to personal and team safety and accountability in our work

Since the first Vashon Island class in 2005, the basic course has been offered almost annually (except during Covid) with about 400 graduates over that time.  Currently about 60 are on the active team.

Registration is open NOW for the 2024 course!   Email:  cert@vashonbeprepared.org

Contact Us & Course Registsration

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. Four people typically comprise a search team. Pictured above, L to R, are Rachel Larson, Jan Lyell, Jim Lilje, Dick Danielson and Kim Nelson.  CERT works with the King County Sheriff and Vashon Fire in missing person situations.

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, an safety working around utilities and fires.

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