.The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergencies in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. 


The CERT course is taught at various locations in Madison County by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course conducted by instructors selected by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. CERT training includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, disaster medical operations, and light search & rescue operations.


Target groups for CERT training include Community Watch organizations, emergency communications & transportation groups, local businesses, church groups, and any other community-based group that can respond as a localized team in their area during times of disaster.


CERT basic training consists of 9 units

this course is required to join Madison County CERT. 


Unit 1: Disaster Preparedness

This unit is a presentation on hazards that face Madison County and steps that individuals can take to mitigate those hazards as well as having a disaster supply kit and disaster plan.


Unit 2: Fire Safety

Students learn about fires, fire safety, and hazardous materials. Students use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. Students are required to wear appropriate clothing and shoes to this class. Leather palmed work gloves, and safety goggles are also required.


Unit 3: Disaster Medical Operations I

Students learn about treating life-threatening conditions, the concept of Triage, the START triage system.



Unit 4: Disaster Medical Operations II

Students learn about public health considerations, establishing treatment areas, head-to-toe assessments, and first aid procedures including splinting/bandaging.



Unit 5: Light Search & Rescue

Students learn about conducting a size up of the disaster scene, degrees of damage, basic search principles and techniques, and rescue operations. Use of cribbing material and a prybar to lift heavy objects as well as methods of lifting and carrying victims will be covered.


Units 6 & 7: CERT Organization & Disaster Psychology

Students learn about the Incident Command System (ICS), how to use ICS to organize themselves as a team, making decisions on a disaster scene, and how they fit in the ICS used by local responders. Students are then given a presentation on team wellbeing, survivor trauma, and interaction with the family of a deceased victim.



Unit 8: Terrorism Awareness

Students learn about terrorist targets, weapons, indicators of a terrorist event, being prepared, as well as what CERT's should do in the aftermath of a terrorist incident.


Unit 9: Simulated Disaster Exercise

A simulated disaster scenario (usually including "victims") is presented to the class. The students have the responsibility of organizing themselves and effectively taking action to respond to and operate in the incident. After the exercise is complete, a short debriefing is held, then we present graduation certificates to those students that have completed all portions of the course.

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