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Community Emergency Response Training


The Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program is under the auspices of the Citizen Corps from Department of Homeland Security. CERT concept was developed in 1985 in California from lessons learned. In 95% of all emergencies, bystanders or victims themselves are the first to provide emergency assistance or to perform a rescue.


CERT training is 20½ contact hours and is designed to help you prepare yourself, your family and your neighbors in the event of a catastrophic disaster when professional emergency services personnel become immediately overwhelmed. The training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training, practice, and working together as a team, you will be able to do the greatest good for the greatest number while protecting yourself from becoming a victim.


Specific training topics include:


  • Disaster Preparedness

    • Identify the most common disasters within the area in which you live to prepare for.

  • Basic Fire Suppression

    • Learn about fire types, basic fire chemistry, and practice with fire extinguishers.

  • Light Search and Rescue

    • Equips you with the situational awareness tools to conduct effective and efficient searches in a variety of disaster conditions.

  • Disaster Medical Operations

    • Learn ways to sort disaster survivors according to life-threatening injuries (triage), how to bandage and splint necessary injuries, about disaster psychology of disaster survivors and fellow team members.

  • Organization

    • Learn about the Incident Command System that local responders use, how to work within the “buddy” system and organize a team, and be able to communicate with and understand what is communicated in a disaster setting.

  • Terrorism

    • Identify potential terrorism markers, what to do with that information and what not to do as CERT.


CERT training has been available in LaSalle County since 2004, just prior to the Granville/Utica Tornado and approximately 400 individuals have received CERT training. In 2006, a LaSalle County CERT team was formalized under LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency. Private employers have also sent employees through CERT training to establish workplace teams. In late 2012, a collaborative decision was made to transition the County CERT Team back to a trained community concept which leads to more resilient communities in the immediate aftermath of a local disaster.


CERT training will be provided free of charge by LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency CERT instructors to any group of 10 or more citizens, municipality, employer, and business owner interested.


To request a class, call 815-434-5622.

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