The North Port Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a volunteer, community-based organization trained to support their families and neighborhood in the aftermath of a disaster. North Port CERT may be called on to provide support for Neighborhood Points of Distribution, or other community-level functions when professional responders may not immediately available to help. The City supports the North Port CERT with training, administrative guidance, resource support, and emergency mission assignment.
The CERT Program, which was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), educates people about disaster preparedness, and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
CERT in the City of North Port has been taught to students at North Port High School for a number of years. In 2004 and 2005, nearly 100 adults completed the CERT training at the school. Efforts to organize the individuals into a team stalled until 2007 when the North Port Fire Rescue District forged a new relationship with the team, serving as liaison to City government. The new Team is now involved with developing its organization, training its members, and participating in community- and City-sponsored events.
For those who are interested in an introduction to the program, you may take the on-line, independent study course,“Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams”IS-317. It has six modules with topics that include an Introduction to CERT, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations, and Search and Rescue. It takes between six and eight hours to take the course. Those successfully finishing it will receive a certification of completion from FEMA.
To become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by North Port CERT. FEMA's 21-hour basic CERT training is presented here in North Port one to two times per year. Seven modules each lasting two and half hours are scheduled over three Saturdays. The last day of class is a field exercise to practice the skills learned in the classroom. Day-long refresher classes are offered at least twice per year to keep existing members current with their training. Additional training sessions are held on a monthly basis. We are committed to making this program widespread throughout the City of North Port, and look forward to our Team training courses.
If you would like to learn about future CERT classes being held in North Port, or join the North Port CERT as an individual or as a group, please go to their website, www.npcert.com.
View the North Port CERT brochure.