MRGDC | Planning & Operations | CERT Planning
(Community Emergency Response Team)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, using the model created by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, began promoting nationwide use of the Community Emergency Response Team concept in 1994. Since then, CERTs have been established in hundreds of communities.
- Contact Planning and Operations:
- Margarita Garcia
- Support Clerk
- Regional CERT Coordinators:
- Ricardo Benavidez
- Uvalde County
- Gary Stiles
- La Salle County
- Steven Burch
- Kinney County
- Jose Rodriguez
- Dimmit County
- Henry Jones
- Real County
- Judge Nick Gallegos
- Edwards County
- Roy de la Cruz
- Maverick County
- Butch Skelton
- Val Verde County
CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.
As the designated administrative agency, the Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) has awarded the Middle Rio Grande Development Council $25,000 for FY2003 to form CERTs throughout each of the nine counties in the Middle Rio Grande Region. Each team will be composed of seven to eight individuals. These volunteers will be trained by CERT Trainers who have themselves completed a Train-The-Trainer course.
If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays a community’s ability to respond with specialized personnel, CERT members will be able to assist by applying the basic response and organizational skills they learned from their training.
The Middle Rio Grande Development Council, in association with the Division of Emergency Management sponsored a CERT Training between September 9 and 12, 2003 at Uvalde’s Emergency Operating Center located at 201 Sul Ross Boulevard.
Individuals who attended participated in the Train-The-Trainer course (G417). This was a fairly intensive 3 1/2 days that prepared the students to instruct local volunteers in CERT standards, actions and responsibilities.
Individuals who attended September’s CERT Training are now prepared to instruct local volunteers in the following areas:
- Disaster Preparedness
- Fire Suppression
- Medical Operations
- Light Search and Seizure
- Team Organization and Disaster Psychology
- Terrorism and CERT
The training was intended for CERT trainers and program managers – not for individual CERT team volunteers. Training for CERT volunteers will be provided in the basic CERT course taught by the graduates of the Train-The-Trainer Course.
Nevertheless, participants in the Train-The-Trainer Course were all volunteers who were willing to conduct CERT training for team volunteers, emergency responders who will be teaching specialized portions of the basic CERT Course, or other volunteers or professionals who have been selected to manage a CERT or coordinate CERT activities.
Individuals volunteering as CERT members for their counties will be trained by CERT trainers through FEMA Course G317. This course is intended to provide the knowledge and skills citizen volunteers need to effectively serve their community. Efforts to prepare for local emergencies and the responses to those emergency situations appropriately are the goals of the course.
Community Emergency Response Teams will be organized in the Middle Rio Grande Region to educate the public regarding emergency preparedness and perform many of the emergency functions needed in the aftermatch of any kind of disaster, natural or man made. CERT’s coordinate their efforts with, and are intended to supplement the efforts of, a community’s professional emergency response staff.
No experience in emergency service is required for the CERT training, but participants should have an interest in such service and a willingness to dutifully serve their communities once they are trained.
Individuals interested in becoming CERT volunteers for their county should contact their respective emergency management coordinator in the list to the right.
More information is also available from the MRGDC Planning & Operations Department at 830.876.1223 or 876.1222.