Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is a nationally supported, locally implemented initiative that teaches people how to better prepare themselves for hazards that may affect their communities. Following a disaster, CERT members may be called upon to help support response and recovery efforts.

Watch FEMA's CERT Members in Action video to learn more about the program

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Program Overview

The Poway CERT program was first organized in 2006. Today, Poway CERT has nearly 100 members that complete thousands of volunteer hours each year. In 2019, members helped distribute water during a boil water advisory and in 2021, members helped support vaccination sites during the COVID-19 response.

CERT membCERT Team Members Take Oathers become advocates for emergency preparedness within the community and are trained to be Disaster Service Workers.

Poway CERT members volunteers their time to support the community by organizing, promoting, and participating in emergency preparedness events, activities and projects.

As Disaster Service Workers, members are better prepared to assist their families, neighbors, co-workers and other community members during emergencies when professional responders may not be immediately available to provide assistance. Before, during and after an emergency, Poway CERT members may be called upon to perform basic response activities including distributing information to the public, supporting the City's Emergency Operations Center, staffing an evacuation shelter or performing community reconnaissance. The ability for CERT members to perform these activities frees up professional responders to focus their efforts on more complex, essential and critical tasks.

CERT Membership

CERT membership requires graduation from a 30-hour CERT Basic Training Academy. The CERT Academy is held annually over the course of five Saturday classes. CERT training includes basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, search and rescue, and first aid treatment. All training provided follows the national framework curriculum developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Citizens Corps Program. 

Upon graduation, CERT members are registered as County of San Diego Disaster Service Workers and may be called upon to assist in the wake of a disaster.

Who can join CERT?

Poway CERT members must be at least 18 years of age, reside in the City of Poway and commit to participating in no less than two activities each calendar year. Community members of all abilities are welcome to join.

Poway CERT is always accepting new members. The academy is only held once per year but applicants may participate in educational activities prior to completing the academy.

Individuals who don't wish to enroll as a Disaster Service Worker can still assist with community education and events as a Fire Department Community Volunteer.

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CERT Activities

Learn how to be better prepared for yourself and your family.

CERT members are required to participate in at least two activities each calendar year. Activities include educational classes or presentations that will better prepare you and your family for an emergency. There are approximately fifteen presentations each year and include topics like CPR, First Aid, and Family Disaster Planning. Other presentations such as Basic Wildfire Awareness or Care and Shelter Operations better prepared you to respond as a Disaster Service Worker during an emergency.

Engage the community and encourage them to take meaningful action.

Data shows that the better prepared a community is prior to a disaster the faster the community will be able to return to normal after a disaster. CERT members attend community events to share information on home fire safety and basic disaster preparedness. Members may also use their skills to support community events such as the Poway Parade and the annual Emergency and Safety Fair.

Serve your community as a Disaster Service Worker.

If a disaster affects the City of Poway or the surrounding region, CERT members may be called into action to support emergency first responders. Disaster Service Worker activities may include distributing information to the public, supporting the City's Emergency Operations Center, staffing an evacuation shelter or performing community reconnaissance.

For more information on the Poway CERT Program, please contact Jenna Stein at 858-668-4474, jstein@poway.org or register today.