Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
What do you do if, during a major disaster, you call 9-1-1 and no one responds?
The Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program prepares regular citizens to safely help themselves, their families, and their communities during major emergencies where first responders are delayed.
During CERT training, experienced instructors from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and CERT volunteers teach disaster response skills, such as fire suppression, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. In hands-on training, classroom learning, and realistic exercises, CERTs learn how to prepare for disasters, and if a disaster occurs, what to do until professional first responders arrive.
CERTs deploy only during major disasters of such large scale that regular emergency services are overwhelmed (for example, earthquakes or major storms that produce mass casualties), and only to help their neighborhoods and local communities.
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CERT training is offered several times a year, at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy and other locations throughout the community.
CERT Training Requirements for Participation Levels
Level - TRAINED
- 1.1 Completion of all the modules in the Fairfax County CERT class, either at the Fire and Rescue Academy or at another venue in Fairfax County
1.2 Completion of online FEMA IS-317 Introduction to Community
Emergency Response Teams
- Note – CERTs from other jurisdictions can be accepted upon unanimous approval of the Volunteer Program Lead, the Community Lead Instructor and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue CERT Program Lead Instructor. Specific classes maybe required (see CERT Transfer Process).
Level - ACTIVE - Trained Level plus the following:
- 2.1 Participation in (one or more) CERT Teams
- 2.2 Completion of online FEMA IS-100b Introduction to Incident Command
- 2.3 Completion of online FEMA IS-700 National Incident Command System, an Introduction
- 2.4 Participate at least two Fairfax County CERT exercises per year, e.g. class final, master exercise or other sanctioned exercise
- 2.5 Completion of a positive Background check administered by Fairfax County
- 2.6 Attend at least three (3) Fairfax County CERT monthly program meetings per year
- 2.7 Maintain CPR and Basic First Aid certification
- 2.8 Completion of the CERT Community Assessment Training (Formerly Windshield Survey) - exceptions will be made for those without smart phones
2.9 Completion of any Blood Bourne Pathogen or Infectious
- ID card will be issued when all the requirements have been met, and is valid for three years.
Level - ADVANCED - Active level plus the following:
- 3.1 Completion of online FEMA IS-200 Incident Command System and Completion of online FEMA IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials - A guide for Citizens
- 3.2 Completion of CERT Hazardous Materials continuing education class
- 3.3 Completion of CERT Traffic and Crowd Management continuing education class
- 3.4 Completion of CERT Emergency Communications continuing education class
- 3.5 Completion of CERT Leadership continuing education class
- 3.6 Completion of CERT Incident Commander continuing education class
- 3.7 IC two events per year (one may be Outreach)
- 3.8 Attend a minimum of six (6) monthly program meetings per year
3.9 Complete a minimum of two (2) continuing education classes
- ID card will be updated when all the requirements have been met, and is valid for three years.
Other CERT training opportunities: For students who have completed CERT training, Fairfax County CERT offers ongoing refresher and continuing education courses, ranging from radio operations, moulage (wound makeup), first aid and CPR, and more. In addition, CERTs can train to become volunteer instructors.
CERT training is free of charge at all levels and basic CERT gear is provided. To participate in CERT training, you must live or work in Fairfax County, and be 18 years of age or older. Students of all physical abilities are welcome. To stay current as a CERT, you must participate in at least one refresher course per calendar year.
If you are interested in signing up for CERT training, visit volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov/recruiter. For all other inquiries, please contact the Fire and Rescue Department Volunteer Liaison’s office at 703-246-4683, TTY 711 or click here. For additional volunteer opportunities in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, visit the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association website.