Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was started by the Los Angeles Fire Department after Mexico City had a massive earthquake. Over 800 people were rescued by untrained citizens responding to help – but 100 of those rescuers were killed themselves as a result of not having the proper rescue training. It confirmed the need to the LAFD to have training for civilians to assist in immediate post-disaster needs that could occur in their area.

The program trains people to be prepared for emergency situations in their community and neighborhood. CERT members provide immediate assistance to victims, collect disaster information to assist first responder efforts, and provide that first neighborhood help in the immediate hours following a major emergency. It is families helping themselves and neighbors helping neighbors to prepare, respond, and recover while waiting for emergency help to arrive. The team also serves as a liaison to the Fire District to identify what the needs of the community are. CERT members can be adults of all ages and teens aged 14-17 (with a parent’s permission). The CERT team is a federally funded program that provides all the necessary equipment needed. The PEIRO and Fire District personnel conduct training of District residents that want to help their fellow neighbors. Before we can implement a program in a community, we need a list of volunteers willing to dedicate themselves to the training. Any number of people can make up a CERT team in a neighborhood or community. However, it is suggested to have approximately 10% of the population of the community committed to the team. It is important to have full and part time residents.

The only cost to the members for the training is a processing fee of $5.00 for the CPR card and the commitment to the team.

Interested in starting or being part of a Community Emergency Response Team?

If you are interested in finding out more information or being a member of a CERT team in your neighborhood, please contact PEIRO Lauri McMahon at