CERT is the Community Emergency Response Team. CERT is part of a federal initiative after September 11, 2001 to promote citizen emergency preparedness. Citizen Corps groups were established throughout the country and CERT is one of the partner programs of this Citizen Corps initiative. The team is a group of volunteers who have completed the CERT Basic Training Course of over 20 hours. This FEMA developed training prepares team members to help themselves and their community in the event of a major emergency or disaster. This dedicated group can give critical support to first responders and the community under the direction of Fairfield Emergency Management. In addition, team members help to educate the public about citizen emergency preparedness so the community will be more resilient in the wake of a disaster.
CERT in Fairfield began in 2007 and since then has been involved in sheltering pets and people, directing traffic and public education, among other things. Advanced training is offered throughout the year. In 2012 Fairfield CERT managed and staffed the evacuation shelter at Ludlow High School during Hurricane Sandy and assisted in crowd management and traffic control for the Half-Marathon race in June. Fairfield CERT also offers the opportunity to join other team members to pursue particular interests in Public Education, Communication, and Sheltering.
The stated MISSION of Fairfield CERT is to assist local emergency management agencies in disaster, crisis and emergency response and to promote safety education, emergency and disaster preparedness in the community. In addition, Fairfield CERT will address the needs (including rescue, care and shelter) of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to, during and following a major disaster or emergency. The role of Fairfield CERT is one of support and the team always operates under the direction of Fairfield Emergency Management.
There are multiple CERTs throughout the country and the State of Connecticut. In Connecticut there are over 3,000 CERT members.