CERT: Community Emergency Response Team

Allegheny County Dept. of Emergency Services provides 8 hours of intensive instruction and hands-on activity to potential CERT Team Trainers who are currently certified in Basic First Aid and CPR/AED. Instruction includes the elements of disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and team organization. This is a community-based program offered to municipalities, schools, scouts, business and industry, and non-profits, including community- and faith-based organizations. Certified trainers then train and develop team members within their organizations or community to assist their neighbors and each other in a disaster until first responders can respond.

If a major disaster were to occur, there might be insufficient numbers of first responders available to respond to all the needs. CERT teams help the community's residents, schools and businesses deal with injuries and conditions until professionals can arrive.

The CERT Program Is:

  • Neighbor helping neighbor... doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
  • A community-based program - you and your neighbors.
  • A group of ordinary citizens who want to help in time of disaster.
  • Comprised of people trained in BASIC emergency skillsoffering immediate help until professional services arrive.
  • A program to help volunteers stay alive in a disaster rescue and assistance situation.
  • A way to pre-plan for a potential neighborhood emergency.
  • A way to reduce stress and confusion in the local area.
  • An inducement for citizens to seek higher levels of training through other sources.
  • A format that you can adapt to your local community structure.

The CERT Program Is:

  • NOT a replacement for highly trained volunteer or paid professional first responders.
  • NOT designed to be activated by the media or 9-1-1; a disaster activates the team.
  • NOT providing any law enforcement powers to citizens.
  • NOT a replacement for fire, rescue and healthcare providers.
  • Not a perfect, tailor-made program, providing all the answers for every disaster scenario.

Current certification in both basic first aid and CPR/AED and attendance at 8 hours of an intensive Train-the-Trainer session. PEMA grant will fund high visibility green safety helmet, safety vest, and safety goggles as long as grant money exists.

A CERT interactive Web-based course can be found at: World Wide Web Icon http://training.fema.gov/IS/. This course is valuable as a refresher course. Other training opportunities available to CERT personnel are offered by the Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services.

To schedule a Train-the-Trainer session or for further information about CERT, local governments, nonprofits, and corporations should contact:

Department of Emergency Services
County of Allegheny
Phone: (412) 473-2550
Email: E-mail