Community Emergency Response Team members are trained volunteers who have learned how to take care of themselves, their families and their neighbors.
To become a CERT, members undergo 20 hours of training and work under the leadership of the County Emergency Management Agency Director or municipal emergency management personnel.
Depending on their training, Maine CERTs:
- Provide back-up (ham radio) communication assistance within the Emergency Operations Centers during an emergency.
- Assist with a search and rescue operation.
- Provide shelter management both for families and their pets during an evacuation.
- Assist with sand bagging during a flooding incident or provide traffic control.
CERT Teams provide critical support to professional first responders; fire, police and emergency medical services.
History of CERT
The Community Emergency Response Team program started in California, with the Los Angeles Fire Department and the earthquake of 1987. The quake demonstrated the need for citizens to band together to help themselves, their neighbors and their loved ones when responders are unavailable, overwhelmed, or prevented from acting because of transportation difficulties. With that, CERT formed.
CERTs have proven to be an active and vital part of their communities' preparedness and response capability. Across the country, CERTs have been used to:
- Distribute and/or install smoke alarms and batteries to the elderly and disabled.
- Assist with evacuations and traffic control.
- Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.
- Supplement staffing at special events, such as parades.
- Act as victims in training exercises.
CERTs in Maine
Community Emergency Response Teams can form at any level… from a small town, to a city, to a county.
Teams have been formed throughout the state, from small towns like Mercer and Greenbush to county-based teams in almost every county. For a full list and contact information, click the link to Community Emergency Response Teams below. To register, contact your County Emergency Management Agency or visit VolunteerMaine.org.
If you do not see one for your county or town, contact your County Emergency Management Agency for more information on starting a team!