What is CERT?
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a network of community or neighborhood
volunteers who join together to help family, friends and neighbors in the event
of a major storm, hurricane, tornado or coastal flood or other such disaster.
The Fire Department runs the CERT program and trains individual volunteers through
their Community Response Team Training classes to ensure they will be able to
interact safely with police and rescue teams in emergency conditions.
Citizen volunteers can help save lives, stabilize
property and enable a community to get back on its feet in those first critical
hours after a storm passes.
If you do not have a CERT program in your community, you should.
During a natural disaster, policemen, firemen, paramedics and ambulance drivers
can become flooded with calls for help and be hard-pressed to respond immediately
to the demands for help. Thus, communities are sometimes on their own until the
emergency subsides. With a CERT program in effect, neighborhood volunteers are
trained and ready to assist anyone no matter what the circumstances.
How does a CERT volunteer get training?
Clearwater Fire and Rescue received a grant from the State of Florida Emergency
Management Division to implement a CERT program in Clearwater. Volunteers can
train at no cost simply by contacting instructors at the Clearwater Fire and Rescue
(contact information provided further below). Graduates receive a CERT duffel
bag, hard hat, gloves, flashlight, first aid kit and a vest monogrammed with the
CERT logo. They are fully prepared to help others in any emergency situation within
When and where do CERT classes meet?
Classes meet one night each week from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m for eight weeks at the
Clearwater Fire and Rescue center. Instructors are experts in their field.
There is no written "homework." But volunteers must be committed to attending
each session, completing the training and being available to help their neighbors
in a disaster situation. Most of the training is hands-on and includes topics
such as Disaster Preparedness, First Aid, Emergency Medical Operations, Light
Fire Suppression, Fire Extinguisher Training and Light Search and Rescue. No special
skills are required; each person will be taught everything he needs to know to
Who can volunteer for CERT training and how does one do so?
Any adult who can move about easily can volunteer for the CERT program by contacting
Clearwater Fire and Rescue at 562-4327 and signing up for the next CERT class.
Retired individuals in good health can be very effective because they often
spend more of their time at home and so are in a position to know who may need
help in their neighborhoods. Volunteers can help save lives, stabilize property
and enable a community to get back on its feet in those first critical hours after
a storm passes, for example.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?
If you are interested in starting a CERT group in your neighborhood, signing
up for the next CERT class, or if you want more information, please contact Clearwater
Fire and Rescue at (727) 562-4327 Ext. 3174.