Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs. One also expect that under these kinds of conditions, family members, Fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training private citizens.
CERT History in the Tracy Fire response area
CERT started in 2007 in Tracy. The program is sponsored by the Tracy Fire Department and serves the jurisdictional area of the South County Fire Authority.
Tracy Fire CERT Team Members learn to:
- Identify and anticipate hazards within their community
- Learn how to prepare themselves for a disaster
- Reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace
- Extinguish small fires
- Assist emergency responders
- Conduct light search and rescue
- Develop safe techniques for debris removal and victim removal
- Set-up treatment areas and command centers
- Apply basic medical techniques
CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search and rescue; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.
How Can I Join?
If you want to volunteer your services and become trained to protect yourself, family and neighbors from a disaster …. become a CERT member.
To become a CERT member you must be a high school student or older, and live in the jurisdictional area of the South County Fire Authority which includes Tracy and the surrounding rural community.
For more information, contact Tracy Fire Department at: (209) 831-6700