CERT: Community Emergency Response Training

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CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The program has been developed by the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department and is designed for the citizens of the City. The basic premise of the program is based on the not-so-well-known reality that in the event of a large-scale disaster, it is very possible that the typical emergency service workers that you rely on during the day-to-day norm may not be available to assist you immediately, as you might normally expect. This is simply a supply-and-demand issue. As with many facets of life, it is necessary to prioritize the large number of emergencies that may occur during a major disaster. It is suspected that in the event of a disaster, your emergency professionals will be dealing with what are considered “high level” emergencies and will be unable to respond to “low” or “moderate” level emergencies for 48 to 72 hours.

That’s where you and CERT come in. The primary intent of the program is twofold. First, it is to assist our residents in learning basic preparedness skills for all types of disasters. The second primary component of the program is to teach team concepts so that those trained in the CERT program can assist others if they so chose. The course is an 20-hour class that is taught during four evening sessions and one Saturday morning. Generally, it is limited to the citizens or business owners of San Luis Obispo, but occasionally there is available space for individuals who reside outside of the city.

There are two primary philosophies brought forth in the presentation of the CERT program that are important to point out. The first is that we believe that you “learn by doing.” As such, approximately five to six hours of the course are manipulative or “hands-on” type of training. If you think you might not be able to do this, you might want to reconsider. We've had people in their 80s and people in wheelchairs successfully, and enthusiastically, complete the course. The second belief is that we think it’s crucial to have fun while you’re learning. So if you’re a real serious person and you never like to laugh, this class might not be for you. However, if you don’t mind laughing a bit, you might just have some fun while taking this class.

Even though we like to have fun, we also fully recognize the seriousness of the subject matter that the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department is presenting to its customers through this program. Although many people intend to become better prepared “one day,” very few actually do. Here, at the Fire Department, we commend the 845 plus previous graduates of the program for their commitment to their families and their community. In the very near future, it is our hope that we can commend you as well for successfully making the same commitment. In doing so, we can assure you that your sense of security and self-reliance will be greatly enhanced, and well worth your time, commitment, and effort.

Course Content
During the first class session, you will have an overview of the CERT concept and learn basic disaster preparedness skills and utility control. The second class teaches you firefighting skills, hazardous materials and terrorism awareness. The third class is spent entirely with emergency medicine issues. The fourth class provides instruction on light search-and-rescue techniques. The fifth class, which is on Saturday morning, provides an opportunity for you to practice, in a very real setting, the skills that you’ve learned in the classroom.

Course Location
The classes are held at Fire Station Number One, which is located at 2160 Santa Barbara Street, San Luis Obispo (at the corner of Broad, South, and Santa Barbara).

Course Sessions

 No current dates are available. Please check back.

There is a $60 materials fee for San Luis Obispo residents and $85 for non-residents that provides you with a student manual and a "CERT bag" filled with essential items for use in an emergency.

How To Sign Up
To reserve you space, you can register online at https://apm.activecommunities.com/sloparksandrec/Activity_Search/cert-community-emergency-response-team/26504 or in person at the Parks and Recreation Administrative Office located at 1341 Nipomo St., SLO.

This class is limited to 30 students. Pre-registration is a must.