Then & Now

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept dates back to 1985, when the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) recognized that in the early states of a disaster—earthquakes in particular—local emergency responders would be overwhelmed, and basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of community members to survive until responders or other assistance arrived.

Recognizing the universal value of this program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked in conjunction with the LAFD to make the CERT program applicable to all types of hazards and developed a CERT training program, which could be used nationwide and adapted to meet local conditions when the need arose.

The tragic events of September 11, remind us that disaster can strike anywhere or anytime, and that basic safety and disaster survival skills can mean the difference between life and death. CERT training empowers the community members to prepare responsibility and respond appropriately when emergencies occur.