It gets you relatively inexpensive training, networking, opportunity for additional training through networking, and legitimacy (if you are a prepper or militia group).
I post below an unedited comment in relation to my earlier CERT post, from commenter Nick:
“In [our city in hurricane country], the CERT program is taken very seriously and well supported on a city and county level. I have done the classes twice, once to learn it, once to refresh it. There is a LOT of information presented, and if it is new to you, it will probably take a repetition to make it stick.
Most of the info is fairly shallow “overview” but is very wide ranging. I recommend to ANYONE with an interest to take the classes. You don’t have to be Tactical Timmy, most of my classmates were seniors, some with physical limitations, and one wheelchair bound. Unless you are a full time Emergency Management pro who came up thru the ranks of fire, ems, EM, and civil defense, you will learn stuff.
In particular, the mass casualty triage module should open some eyes about the level of seriousness involved. Breathing? No — head tilt 2x then MOVE ON. That is a REALLY hard reality for most of the participants. It points up the emphasis on DISASTER response. On the other hand, there is a fairly extensive first aid component too.
The Disaster Psych, and NBC/terrorism modules have some graphic imagery and real world examples.
Maybe the best module for the unfamiliar is the intro to the Incident Command System. This is the framework that ALL disaster response in the US uses, and fits into the NICS framework. It will give you a framework for MANAGING the response, as well as familiarize you with how your local authority will be organized and managing themselves.
It’s training, it’s free to YOU, it is actually ‘real world’ and useful (no happy gas), and you get an official credential and backpack full of entry level stuff. AND it’s VOLUNTARY whether you activate or deploy. Their mantra is self–>family–>neighborhood…
BTW there are some intangibles as well. You have the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the EM people in your area. Your official credential might be worth something in some situations. In some situations you might ‘move to the front of the line’, for example, some of our CERT teams volunteered for an exercise running emergency POD or points of distribution in an emergency VACCINE distribution scenario. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how being involved in that could have benefits to you and your family. And lastly, CERT training opens up paths to additional training and participation in MASSEX training events (assuming you aren’t a complete muppet) and opportunities for additional meaningful public service.
Even if you can’t make the time for the classes, download and READ the material. You will learn something.”
As my attendings said during training, I agree with above.