Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program offers members of the public an opportunity to learn basic hands-on disaster response techniques and life-saving skills to utilize in their own homes and neighborhoods. This 100% volunteer program was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985 and implemented nationally by FEMA in 1993. CERT members train for a minimum 20 hour program of classroom and hands on skills in the following areas before becoming a registered volunteer:

• Disaster preparedness
• Fire safety & utility controls
• Light search and rescue
• Team organization
• Disaster psychology
• Terrorism response
• Disaster medical operations

Upon completion of the class, participants have the option to become a Chicago Citizen Corps CERT volunteer and assist professional emergency services following a disaster. Past participants have played a role in emergency exercises and assisted the City during the recovery and evacuee welcome efforts after Hurricane Katrina and Maria.

Other special events that CERT volunteers assist in are the Chicago Air and Water Show, St. Patrick’s River Dyeing, Chicago Marathon, Summertime beach patrols, and more.

CERT volunteers also participate in monthly training sessions to maintain and enhance their preparedness skills. These monthly training sessions include CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation), Stop The Bleed (STB), and other vital safety courses.

The training is free to participants and funded by a Federal grant program issued through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Chicago CERT team is managed by the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) with assistance from the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department. Classes are typically offered 4 times a year. 

To sign up for the CERT program fill the online application here.

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