Community Emergency Response Teams in California


During times of emergency, communities band together to support one another by sharing food or water, helping a neighbor clear snow, or even joining a community-based organization. One of the ways someone can give back to their community is to join a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). A CERT program is a group of trained volunteers who are prepared to assist in emergency and disaster situations.

CERT programs are typically organized at the community level and are often sponsored by local emergency management agencies such as fire departments with support of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Cal OES provides training and certification for CERT members throughout California. This includes basic training in disaster preparedness, fire safety, search and rescue, and basic medical operations. CERT members may be called upon to assist with a variety of emergency situations, including natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or other large-scale incidents.

Cal OES provides funding and grant opportunities to support the development and operation of CERT programs. These funds can be used to purchase equipment and supplies, support training and outreach activities, and help communities establish and maintain CERT teams.

As the state’s leader in emergency management and response, Cal OES provides technical assistance and resources to help CERT teams develop and implement effective emergency plans and response strategies. This includes access to tools and resources such as the California Emergency Services Act, the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to better help CERT programs operate seamlessly with professional first responders when they answer the call for service.

To learn more about CERT programs, and to find a program near you: visit