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Emergency Management

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)


We are all Affected by Emergencies

Each year many Nebraska communities are damaged by severe weather such as tornadoes, floods, flash floods and winter storms. In addition to these concerns, we also have to be prepared for "man-made" disasters that could include hazardous materials incidents and acts of terrorism.

The damage caused by such disasters can affect everyone. Disasters can:

  • severely restrict and overwhelm emergency response resources, communications, transportation and utilities, and
  • leave individuals and neighborhoods cut off from outside emergency support.

How do CERT teams respond to an emergency?

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are trained to take care of themselves and then help others in their communities for the first three days following a disaster. This is when debris-clogged or damaged roads, disrupted communications or high volume of calls may prevent access by emergency response personnel.

What is a community?

A community is any group of people; it can be a village or town, the teachers in a school or the staff at a nursing home. It could be the employees of a business or members of a local service club. A community is any group of people united by some commonality.

Any one of these communities will benefit from CERT training.

What does a CERT course cover?

The Community Emergency Response Team course consists of 21 hours of training. It can be taken during the week or over one weekend. Classes are taught by professionally trained instructors selected from emergency responders including firefighters, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel.

The course agenda includes a range of critically important areas. A working knowledge of these areas can save lives both at home and in the community!

CERT training prepares a community for emergencies

Upon completion of the CERT training the participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the types of hazards most likely to affect their homes and communities,
  2. Describe the function of CERT and their roles in immediate response,
  3. Take steps to prepare themselves for a disaster,
  4. Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in their homes and workplaces,
  5. Work as a team to use standard equipment to apply basic fire suppression and safety measures to extinguish a fire,
  6. Conduct triage under simulated conditions,
  7. Apply techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating shock,
  8. Perform head-to-toe assessments,
  9. Select and set up a treatment area,
  10. Employ basic treatments for various wounds,
  11. Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations,
  12. Describe the most common techniques for searching a structure,
  13. Use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extrication, and
  14. Describe ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue.

Course Agenda

    Introduction to disasters, impact of disasters on infrastructures and the role of CERT in disaster response.
    Identifying and reducing potential fire hazards, basic fire suppression strategy, resources and techniques.
    Treatment strategies for life-threatening conditions and principles of triage. Head-to-toe assessments, treatment for various injuries.
    Techniques for size-up and search, lifting, cribbing and removing victims, rescuer safety.
    Protecting your home from severe weather, personal readiness, CERT equipment, organizing your team.
    Organizing, deploying teams, communications and recovery.
    Important things you need to know about chemical, biological and nuclear terrorism.

How Do You Get Involved?

First, contact your local Emergency Management Agency to find out about the availability of courses in your area. Or contact the CERT Administrator for Nebraska at the address below.

Second, if trainers are available recruit 25-30 interested people from your community, neighborhood, school or business.

Third, determine how your class will be conducted. It could be over a weekend or during the week depending on the availability of trainers.

Fourth, determine a location for your training. The instructors bring all the equipment needed including a laptop computer and projector - therefore a darkened room is needed. The room needs to be in a classroom setup so that the class can take notes. A large area is also needed for the exercise on the last day.

The CERT program for Southeastern Nebraska is administered by Lancaster County Emergency Management. You can call the Nebraska CERT administrator at (402) 441-7441.

For more information or presentations on a number of topics contact us at: 402-441-7441