NC CERT Teams Becoming Part of the Preparedness Culture

Author: Emergency Management

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are becoming an increasing important part of the preparedness culture and emergency response efforts in North Carolina.  (Above: CERT representative engages with FEMA teams at the State Emergency Operations Center)


CERT logoA number of CERT have been active in the response to Hurricane Florence. The Rowan County team staffed the county’s emergency call center. Other teams helped track commodities at a staging area in Garner.  The Hope Mills team helped open shelters in Cumberland and Hoke Counties for individuals and families fleeing from dangerous winds and rising floodwaters.  In addition, the Cary team helped establish amateur radio communications for the Cary Fire Department and provided a hand in rescuing a woman stuck in her attic by rising waters in New Bern.

The CERT program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that might impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills.  These include fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

The Los Angeles Fire Department developed and implemented the CERT concept in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in California two years later confirmed the need for training individuals to meet a community’s immediate needs following a disaster.

Since 1993, CERT has helped communities across North Carolina and the nation build skills and capabilities to better prepare them to respond to any disaster. There are CERT programs in all 50 states, tribal nations and U.S. territories. Each program is unique to its community but essential to building a culture of preparedness throughout the country.

Currently, 1,200 volunteers make up 84 CERT teams in 57 counties in North Carolina.

The CERT program originated as a grassroots initiative structured so local and state program managers have the flexibility to form programs that best suits their communities.  CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disasters.

More information on North Carolina’s CERT program is available online at

Related Topics: