CERT is Community Emergency Response Teams, and is what the name implies.
They operate under the umbrella of the local government, with ties to state governments and FEMA.
Where is the local CERT team? Look here.
Per the FEMA website, they offer training in the following topics:
“The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period. The training consists of the following:
Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and, most important, rescuer safety.
Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.
Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
During each session participants are required to bring safety equipment (gloves, goggles, mask) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings) which will be used during the session. By doing this for each session, participants are building a disaster response kit of items that they will need during a disaster.”
I can’t see a downside in getting this kind of training. Don’t think: “the government will know who I am and I don’t want anything to do with it”–.gov already knows who you are, and infiltration of .gov with FreeFor is a laudable goal. Not only do you get the training, you connect with local folks who are also of the preparedness mindset. You have access to additional types of training that might not otherwise be available. Local militia leaders should also plug their group into this system (in my opinion) as this offers a degree of legitimacy not otherwise available.
On a side note, my father-in-law (who specialized in killing multiple types of pests throughout his career, from the 8 leg to the 2 leg variety; 20 years in Special Forces as a medic and disease prevention specialist) highly recommends this type of training; indeed, berated me soundly for overlooking the obvious.
Please comment below with any direct experience with CERT training.