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CERT - Community Emergency Response Team

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The City of Coral Springs’ Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates residents about disaster preparedness and how to respond to emergency situations in their community. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders and provide immediate assistance to victims at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community (download the CERT brochure).

Why CERT? After September 11, 2001, America witnessed a wellspring of selflessness and heroism. People in every corner of the country asked, "What can I do?" and "How can I help?" Citizen Corps was created to help all Americans answer these questions through public education and outreach, training, and volunteer service. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is one of the programs of the Citizen Corps and is administered by Coral Springs Fire Rescue. CERT is a training program that prepares citizens to help themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event of a disaster in their community.

Using classroom and hands-on training, CERT members develop skills to assist others when professional responders are not immediately available. CERT members are trained in Small Fire Suppression, First Aid, Triage, Team Organization, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism Awareness. CERT volunteers also receive CPR training.

After a disaster, CERT members apply lifesaving skills to give critical support until help arrives. They also have first response capabilities because they can canvass assigned areas, extinguish small fires, assess damage, turn off natural gas inlets, perform search and rescue and triage, determine the need for supplies, and render basic medical treatment. CERT members are NOT firefighters or paramedics.

Training starts with an Introduction to Disaster Preparedness including a discussion of what a disaster is and what are some of the potential emergencies facing Coral Springs and South Florida. In the event a natural disaster or emergency situation should occur, the fire and police departments may be delayed for hours or days. CERT members can provide care and first aid for those in need.

CERT students will learn fire chemistry, fire suppression strategies, team and personal safety techniques, controlling utilities, and an introduction to hazardous materials. Each student will be trained in the proper technique for using a fire extinguisher and will be given the chance to put out a fire.

CERT students learn to recognize and treat life threatening injuries through opening an airway, control bleeding, and treating for shock. They learn simple triage and rapid treatment techniques. The training also includes how to perform a head-to-toe assessment, splint arms and legs, recognize and treat burns, and other basic first aid techniques. Students also cover safety & sanitation, organization of disaster medical operations, and establishing medical treatment areas.

CERT students learn light search and rescue techniques including rescue safety, planning and scene size-up, searching, lifting and cribbing techniques, and removing victims. This training teaches students how to work in unfamiliar surroundings as a team.

Team members will use hands on training to learn these very important skills.

CERT students learn to recognize terrorism and how to respond. This part of the training focuses on understanding weapons and potential targets and reporting suspicious activities.

CERT students also spend time understanding disaster psychology and CERT operations. Students will learn CERT Command Post operations and the Incident Command System (ICS)/National Incident Management System (NIMS). The skills learned in this section are vital to understanding how CERT operates and how a disaster scene is organized. The skills learned in this section will be related to everyday tasks for greater understanding.

The CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course outlined by FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI).

The Coral Springs CERT team training program prepares members of the Community to help their family and neighbors in the event of a disaster. Many members have also used their training in their everyday lives.

Coral Springs CERT members are also active with the fire and police departments to help when they need extra manpower to search for missing persons. Extensive training is offered a couple of times a year in how to conduct a successful search.

Are your friends and neighbors looking to get involved in the community? CERT is an invaluable opportunity. Do you live in a community with a home owners’ association, in an apartment complex or condo building? Tell your friends and neighbors about CERT and get them involved.

CERT training is a FREE 25-hour course offered to the residents of Coral Springs. The initial training is followed by a disaster simulation drill and monthly meetings. The initial course meets on three consecutive Saturdays. The monthly meetings cover topics such as CPR, first aid, search and rescue, basic disaster management, and other important topics.

To sign up, complete the application and mail to:

Coral Springs Fire Department
Coral Springs Public Safety Building
Attn: CERT
2801 Coral Springs Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33065