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About Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

CERT program of Douglas County, Kansas.
CERT Seal
CERT Seal

The CERT volunteer works under the direction of emergency management staff to prepare themselves, family members and friends for a local disaster event. CERT volunteers may provide basic disaster response assistance in a disaster to family members, co-workers or neighbors. CERT volunteers may be assigned other responsibilities during disaster situations.

This is an excellent way to participate in community events and offer your assistance in local disasters. This training is designed to help you help others in the first seventy-two (72) hours of an event. These skills allow you to secure your home and assist your neighbors.

To request additional information or to enroll, contact:

  • Douglas County Emergency Management
  • 111 E. 11th Street
  • Lawrence, KS 66044
  • Phone: 785-832-5260
  • Fax: 785-832-5101
  • Email: kdinneen@douglas-county.com

In addition to meeting all the requirements listed on Volunteer Opportunities Homepage, additional requirements have been established for all CERT volunteers. To remain an active volunteer, each CERT volunteer must complete the following annually:

  • Participation in 50% of service group activations
  • Attendance at 50% of service group meetings/trainings
  • Mandatory Trainings:
  • Volunteer Policies and Procedures Training
  • Radio Etiquette Training
  • Weather 101

Annually, all authorized volunteers must complete a background check. Every two years, all authorized volunteers must complete the Douglas County Harassment Free Workplace Training as provided by the Assistant County Administrator. This training will be scheduled by Douglas County Emergency Management.

Volunteers are also encouraged to participate in special events and/or additional trainings sponsored or offered by DCEM.

To volunteer for CERT, please complete the DCEM Volunteer Application (PDF format) and submit it by email or in-person to:

  • Douglas County Emergency Management
  • 111 East Eleventh Street, Unit 200
  • Lawrence, KS 66044

Before delivering in person, please call ahead (785-832-5259) and make an appointment to ensure staff can assist you.

All CERT meetings, unless otherwise stated, will be held at:

  • Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 2nd floor
  • Douglas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
  • 111 East 11th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees.

The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.