Community Emergency Response Team
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) across the nation have their roots in FEMA’s Citizen Corps. The program creates an opportunity for interested citizens to serve their community as a supplemental first responder in an unpaid, volunteer capacity. It adheres to federally mandated training requirements and operational guidelines and is organized under Pepperell’s Emergency Management Agency.
CERT members may be called upon in the event or a large scale emergency or special event and deployed to meet situations which cannot be adequately managed by regular first responder agencies (Police, Fire, EMS, etc.). Primary calls to action fall into two categories: major public emergencies such as significant weather or other catastrophic events resulting in negative public impact; or large public events where the assistance of CERT members can be vital to public safety and security. CERT members cannot self-deploy, but are instead notified, organized and given specific assignments by the EMD under defined deployment protocols.
To be qualified as a CERT member you must be a town resident who is at least 18 years of age and in good physical health. Your own reliable transportation is a must as well as the ability to pass a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check. Candidates should have a strong interest in public service and can be committed to fulfilling your obligations for meetings, training, scheduled events and emergency call outs. Previous first responder or medical experience is a plus but not required.
FEMA has a prescribed 20+ hour nighttime training program. Modules cover disaster preparedness, fire safety and utility controls, basic first aid, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and more. All classes must be completed with makeups required, and everyone must pass a final exam. Regular in-service training will also be required as well as departmental meetings.
CERT members can be deployed to assist with non-firefighting needs at fire scenes, traffic control with the Auxiliary Police, search activity for missing persons, emergency shelter operations, public event support, etc. Members will be issued identifying clothing and safety gear as well as be equipped with basic emergency response provisions. There is no cost to individuals who participate.