Learn More About CERT

What is CERT?

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation. For additional information, please see our program flyer or you can get an online introduction to CERT via independent distant learning. "Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams", IS- 317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members. 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 complete the course. Those successfully finishing it will receive a certification of completion and .8 CEUs from the Independent Study Office.

The IS-317 can be taken by anyone interested in CERT. However, to become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by the El Cerrito Fire Department or other local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department.


CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger. In the CERT training, citizens learn to:
  • Understand community vulnerability to disasters
  • Prepare their families, homes and businesses for disasters
  • Manage utilities and extinguish small fires
  • Provide basic medical aid
  • Search for and rescue victims safely
  • Learn the psychological aspects of disasters and how to care for people
  • Gain increased terrorism awareness
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
  • and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts

Why do the CERT training?

Well, it's like paying for car insurance. You might never need either; you'd hope not to. But if the occasion arises, having the CERT training, just like having car insurance, means you're as ready as you can be to help yourself, your family and your neighborhood.

How do I join?

The CERT program in El Cerrito/Kensington is offered in three different formats to allow community members the opportunity to fit CERT into their lives. The following is a brief description on each of those formats:

CERT Certified

The full CERT class consists of eight modules of training and is 20 hours of initial training that is taught either one day a week for eight weeks or on consecutive Saturday’s with one class in the AM and one in the PM. The course is followed by a required full-day drill that is in cooperation with the Richmond CERT Program. All members completing this training format will be CERT certified and registered with the local program.

Boot Camp

The program is offered in a condensed format designed to provide those participants who cannot dedicate the required 20 hours for training. This one-day training that is held on Saturdays is designed to introduce participants to CERT in all program areas. Boot Camp participants are not required to attend the full-day drill and not certified through CERT. Participants are registered with the local program.

CERT Certification

CERT Certification classes are offered to those community members who have completed and been certified through the Neighborhood Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT) program & want to be certified in CERT. The class will consist of the Terrorism & CERT Organization modules. Those completing this required training will be CERT certified and registered with the local program.
All registered NEAT and CERT members are welcomed to drop in to any class in order to maintain their skill levels.
CERT is provided free of charge to anyone 18 or over. Priority registration is given to El Cerrito and Kensington residents.
The 2019 CERT Schedule is available online. You can search to find the training format or time period that best fits your schedule. To register for a class, please call (510) 215-4450 or send an email or register online.