The CERT concept was first developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985 after 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 fires in California have confirmed the need for training civilians to meet immediate emergency needs.
In 1994 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) felt that the concept and the program should be made available to communities nationwide. FEMA in cooperation with the LAFD expanded CERT training to be applicable to a wide range of natural hazards.
Following the events 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, and in 2005 the CERT program became part of the Department of Homeland Security. It is anticipated that the CERT program will continue to evolve into a fully integrated Fire Department volunteer force.
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE SACRAMENTO FIRE DEPARTMENT
COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (CERT):
Sacramento CERT Volunteers under the sponsorship of the Sacramento Fire Department shall provide support to public safety and service personnel as an additional resource in emergency and non-emergency situations by working within the network of local and state Emergency Response Teams. In addition CERT will provide the City of Sacramento community with CERT disaster emergency preparedness training.
The Core Values of the Sacramento Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team:
Honor: We are trustworthy, have strong character, and adhere to the highest principles.
Respect: We hold the community we serve, each other, and our profession with highest regards in a non-judgmental, courteous, and compassionate manner.
Courage: We face difficulty and uncertainty without being diverted from the correct course of action. We do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.
Integrity: We uphold the public trust by committing ourselves to the utmost professional and ethical behavior.
Devotion to Duty: We are dedicated to carrying out our mission as accountable stewards of the resources entrusted to us, with prompt response and a readiness to serve.
The Sacramento Fire Department CERT program has the responsibility of supporting public safety and service personnel as an additional resource in emergency and non-emergency situations, and providing disaster training to the citizens of the Sacramento region. The organization chart represents the current structure of the department.
The team operates one 3/4 ton utility truck, one 3/4 ton logistics van, two search and rescue equipment trailers, two service trailers, one animal response trailer, one Command/Communications/Rehab trailer, and one 6×4 gator. Sacramento CERT is comprised of two Battalions (North and South of the American River) and maintains a command staff following the Incident Command System for both operational and day-to-day activities.
Program volunteers provide approximately 6,800 hours of service each year and provide service to approximately 530,000 residents located in the Sacramento region.
In addition, the program maintains the capability of deploying via mutual aid request anywhere in California for up to two weeks to serve on disaster scenes. In support of the Sacramento Fire Department, the program regularly provides overhead personnel for Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force Seven (Task Force 7) operations (mobilization and demobilization).
Meet the Team
Sacramento CERT follows the Incident Command System for deployments and daily operations.
CERT in Action
Would you like to learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors during an emergency? If so, sign up today!