Community Emergency Response Team

In 95 percent of all emergencies, the victim or bystander provides the first immediate assistance on the scene. 

Would you know what to do?

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team.  CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster.  When a widespread disaster strikes, emergency agencies are likely to be overwhelmed.  Emergency service personnel may not be able to reach everyone right away.  People may have to rely on each other – for hours or even days.  By getting CERT training, you will have the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property.

CERT training takes about 24 hours to complete, typically one evening a week for two months, and provides critical skills in emergency preparedness and response.  Training is conducted by first responders or other trained CERT instructors.  

Participants learn how to:

  • Identify and anticipate hazards

  • Prepare themselves and their families for various hazards

  • Reduce fire hazards in the home/workplace and extinguish small fires

  • Conduct light search and rescue

  • Triage patients in a mass casualty incident

  • Set up medical treatment areas and apply basic medical techniques

  • Help reduce survivor stress

  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective

CERT members are also trained in life-saving skills with emphasis on decision-making ability, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

Who should take CERT training?

  • People interested in taking an active role in hometown preparedness

  • Neighborhood Watch groups

  • Community leaders

  • Parents

  • Students, teachers, administrators and school staff

  • Communities of faith

  • Scouting and youth organizations

  • Businesses

  • Members of clubs and civic organizations

CERT Points of Contact are listed to the right.  If you don't see a CERT program near your town, please contact Chris Tate at Jefferson County EMA – – 205-254-2039 to learn about how to start up a CERT program in your area.  Jefferson County EMA assists with coordinating the program, however teams are managed by a team leader within their respective community.

Points of Contact for CERT Programs in Jeffco:


Bessemer CERT

Capt. Carlton Jackson

205-428-5151 ext. 115

Birmingham CERT

Lt. Orlando Reynolds


Concord CERT

Bill Wicks

Westside CERT

(Fairfield / West Jefferson areas)

Kathy Scarbrough


Fultondale CERT

Allen Thrush



Charles Bonasera


Irondale CERT

B. J. Colvin


McAdory CERT

Darrin Jarvis


Samford University CERT

Cindy Berry


Springville/Argo CERT

Janet McCown


Trussville CERT

Asst. Chief Keith McLaughlin


Vestavia Hills CERT

Nicole Zabriskie


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