Carpinteria CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a group of community members who have spent many hours training to respond to an emergency in their neighborhood, workplace or wherever the need may arise.
The CERT volunteer program is part of the Citizen Corps program. The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985 after some devastating earthquakes in Japan, Mexico, and California. The goal was to develop multi-functional volunteer response teams with the ability to perform basic fire suppression, light search and rescue and first aid that would improve the ability of citizens to survive until responders or other assistance could arrive. Several major earthquakes, and major fires, in California have confirmed the need for training civilians to meet immediate emergency needs.
In 1994 FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) felt that the concept and the program should be made available to communities nationwide. FEMA in cooperation with the LAFD expanded the CERT materials to make them applicable to all natural hazards. As a result of September 11, 2001, CERT was selected as one of the primary programs of President George W. Bush's new Citizen Corps. As of January 2004, 50 states, three territories, and six foreign countries are using CERT training programs. It is anticipated that the CERT program will continue to evolve into a fully integrated Fire Department volunteer force. In 2005 the CERT program became part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The CERT Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises CERT members can assist others.