Vashon Community Emergency Response Team (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 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.

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