CERT Continuing Education

Coronavirus Update

CERT Continuing Education has both fully in-person classes and online classes through Zoom.

See the CERT COVID-19 Policy

(For CERT Basic Training, see this page. For CERT Advanced Training, see this page.)

Continuing education classes are held from time to time. They help CERT team members refresh skills learned in the Basic classes as well as learn new skills. Attendance at these classes counts towards the 20 hours of CERT training required for renewal of the DSW badge and CERT recertification every five years.

At all the evening continuing education sessions, CERT recertification will take place from 6:30–7:00 pm for those who need to update their badges. (Currently with the precautions for the coronavirus, please email [email protected] about procedures to follow for recertification.)

Currently Scheduled Continuing Education Classes

Note: Unless otherwise specified, each Continuing Education class must have a minimum of 10 registered one week before the class begins, or it may be cancelled. You will be notified if the minimum has not been met.

Advanced Splinting — May 4

On your average day, if you fall and break a bone, you do not need to splint it. You call 911 and let the first responders take care of you. But in a large disaster such as a 7.5 earthquake, help may not come. A broken bone will not take priority then. That is where we as CERTs can help out. Splinting becomes an advanced first aid skill when help is delayed.

In this 3-hour class we will practice immobilizing the injury using a variety of techniques including wrist and ankle injuries, sling and swath, simple leg splints, and anatomical splints.

Presenters: CERT instructors Andrew Clark, EMT and Joyce Smith, Wilderness First Responder

Central Fire Community Room, 930 – 17th Ave, Santa Cruz (Live Oak)
Saturday, May 4, 9 am–12 pm


Incident Command System: FEMA IS-200 — May 4

Struggling to complete the Santa Cruz County CERT-required FEMA IS-200 course (Basic ICS for Initial Response)?

We are trying a different way of completing this required course. The FEMA course slides will be projected on a large screen, and as a group we will complete the required course. This offers students a chance to ask questions and get additional information to have a clearer understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS). Class limited to 6 students.

Students bring their personal computers and will then take the required test independently. Students will need to set up/retrieve a FEMA Student ID prior to attending. Go to https://cdp.dhs.gov/FEMASID to set up/retrieve.

Presenter: Mary Edmund, RN, CERT Auxiliary Director

When: Saturday, May 4, 1–4:30 pm
Location: Central Fire Community Room, 930 – 17th Ave, Santa Cruz (Live Oak)


New CERT Phone Applications — May 29

Join Paul Garcia, County Geographic Information System (GIS), who designed the phone applications specifically for CERT use. This training will provide you with access to the Santa Cruz County GIS Team’s mobile applications.

The “scSURF” app will be a new tool in CERT’s toolkit. CERTs may report damage assessments in their neighborhoods to help close the information gap within the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during activations. Includes special protocol for 5.0 and above earthquakes.

The “Knock & Talk” app will be used to document public outreach as directed by the EOC with real time reporting of area and contacts.

This class will be conducted on Zoom.
Wednesday, May 29, 7:00–8:30 pm

Register and/or get additional details

MURS Radio Training and Exercise — June 30

This will be an in-person, hands on class, for those who may be new to CERT, unfamiliar with our MURS radio or uncertain about how to use it, or want a refresher. Those who have more experience using MURS radios are welcome to attend, refresh their skills and assist with those who are new. It is a repeat of the March exercise, with new and improved instructions.
Organizer: Communication Coordinator Roberta Roberts

Skypark Large Gazebo, 361 Kings Village Rd, Scotts Valley
Sunday, June 30, 2-4 pm

Register and/or get additional details


Recorded Continuing Education Classes

Because of the pandemic, we have been holding CERT continuing education classes on Zoom. Here are selected classes that were recorded. You won’t be able to ask questions, but you can still learn from the instructors and the discussion.

If you have specific questions from any of these trainings, please email [email protected].

You’ve been on Zoom. Please excuse the occasional technical glitches.

  • Last Resort – Sheltering in Place During a Wildfire

    Would you know what to do if a wildfire advances so quickly that you do not have time to get out or you’ve waited too late to evacuate, and the roads are now blocked?

    LizAnne Jensen, Firewise leader and CERT Auxiliary Board President, and Lynn Sestak, FireSafe Council volunteer and Firewise coach for the County, will familiarize you with essential strategies and steps that might help you survive if you find yourself in this perilous situation.
    Watch the recording

  • Disaster Psychology for Children
    Presenter — Laura Vroman, MSW
    Children and adolescents are NOT little adults. When a disaster strikes, children and adolescents are at risk of experiencing extreme stress. They are less likely to understand what is going on or have any idea of how to stay safe, and they are less likely to feel as if they have any control of what is going on. Because of this, children and adolescents are at greater risk of experiencing trauma when a disaster happens. In this presentation, we will discuss some ideas about how to support children and adolescents in case of a disaster.
    Watch the recording
  • Lightning!
    LIGHTNING: What We Know and What We Have Yet to Learn
    Presenter: Dr. Jacquelyn Ringhausen, Lightning Scientist with NOAA, National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration Research, at the world’s preeminent National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma.
    Watch the recording
  • Triage Review
    Presenter – Mary Edmund RN, CERT Instructor, and Leader Seacliff Neighborhood Team
    Yellow, red, recovery position, stages of bleeding — do you remember these? Here is an opportunity for a convenient review of triage concepts and CERT’s role in mass casualty situations.
    Watch the recording
  • Disaster Psychology Refresher
    Presenter — Dr. Avril Salter, CERT Instructor, and member City of Santa Cruz Team
    Which skill do you think you will use as a CERT volunteer the most? It may surprise you that it is not putting out fires or stopping the bleed. It is disaster psychology. This is because CERT volunteers help the people in our community. We do not just help in disasters. We help prepare people for a disaster, direct traffic, and other community support activities. The people we are helping exhibit emotional responses in all of these situations.You, the people you are helping, and your fellow CERT buddy will all benefit from your skills in disaster psychology.
    Watch the recording
  • Tsunamis -- Hear from the Experts
    a) Brian Garcia — Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Monterey/San Francisco Bay Area
    b) Yvette LaDuke — Program Manager Earthquake, Tsunami and Volcano Program Seismic Hazards Branch, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)
    c) Rick Wilson — Senior Engineering Geologist Seismic Hazards Program, Tsunami Unit Mgr., California Geological SurveyHow to be aware of tsunami hazards, and how to prepare for them.
    Watch the recording
  • CERT, Firewise USA and the Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County: collaboration opportunity for community education
    Presenters — LizAnne Jensen, FireSafe Council volunteer, executive committee member, and CERT Auxiliary Board member; and Lynn Sestak, FireSafe Council volunteer, board member, Firewise coach for this County, and new CERT member for Loma Prieta area
    Firewise USA, a national program, is a framework that helps neighbors work together in a community to reduce wildfire risk, through education and collaboration. Local Fire Safe Councils in the South Bay area (including Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County) promote the Firewise USA recognition process as a way for communities in the WUI (Wildland-Urban Interface) to reduce their wildfire risk. This includes education pieces for helping neighbors to work together on defensible space, home hardening, evacuation planning and more. With the current drought conditions and fire anxiety very high, there is a lot of interest in the Firewise USA program. The Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz is seeking partners to assist interested neighborhoods who want to go Firewise. With CERTs’ focus on preparedness, we are exploring the possibility of partnering with  the Fire Safe Council to help communities become more fire safe.
    Watch the recording
  • Call Center Setup and Staffing
    Presenters — Liz Taylor-Selling, Branch Leader, and Bill Fitler, Member Felton Area CERT
    Early in the CZU Wildfire event, CERT was asked to staff the CalFire call center to answer phone calls from the public when professionals were handling the fire event. This Call Center training was developed from the lessons learned, and reviews core CERT safety and disaster psychology principles, preparing us to assist again in case we are called to do so.
    Watch the recording
  • Disaster Psychology for Yourself, Team Members, and Survivors
    Presenter — Laura Vroman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and La Selva Beach Team member
    Additional information beyond what was presented in CERT Basic Training, focusing on children, psychological first aid, mindfulness, and how to stay upbeat in this COVID environment.
    Watch the recording
  • Utility Safety and Handling Emergencies
    Presenter — Stew Roth, PG&E Community Representative
    Are you ready for power shut-offs and possible utility emergencies? PG&E representative Stew Roth presents an informative and engaging discussion dealing with gas and electric infrastructure, identifying utility hazards and risks, with a special focus on downed power lines.
    Watch the recording
  • Beginning MURS Radios (Multi Radio Service)
    Presenter — Dawn Mackey, Registrar, ARES, Team Bonny Doon
    Now that you have a new MURS radio, attend an online class on how to use it. Provides basic information for radio maintenance, operation, etiquette and protocols.
    Watch the recording
  • MURS Radio Intermediate Class
    CERT radio communication allows for information to be gathered quickly and passed on to help make decisions on priority of response. In this intermediate class the discussion centers on radio wave propagation, making calls, CERT and ARES radio structure and radio accessories (possibilities of increasing range).
    Watch the recording | View the handout
  • Map Your Neighbor (MYN) Workshop
    Presenter — Joyce Smith, Team Santa Cruz, and others
    Neighborhoods that are prepared for emergencies and disaster situations save lives and reduce the severity of injuries and property damage. In addition, contributing as an individual and working together as a team helps develop stronger communities and improves the quality of life in the community.
    The Map Your Neighborhood program guides you and your neighbors through simple steps to help enhance your preparedness for an emergency or disaster. We outline ways to set up the program in your neighborhood and how to be ready to take advantage of the ”golden hour.”
    Watch the recording
  • Equine Evacuation
    Presenter — Kenneth Coale, Coordinator / Staging Area Manager
    Do you own large animals — horses, llamas and alpacas? Are you prepared to evacuate them in case of wildfire or other emergencies? Find out how you may prepare and utilize pre-planning, and what steps are necessary to get help. Presentation will provide Equine Evacuation’s role in past emergencies, and how they are activated and trained for their mission.
    Watch the recording
  • Fire Safe Council
    Presenter — LizAnne Jensen, Vice President, CERT Auxiliary Board of Directors
    The purpose of Fire Safe Santa Cruz County (FSSCC) is to educate and mobilize the people of Santa Cruz County to protect their community, homes, and environment from wildfire. Two-thirds of Santa Cruz County is considered Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), putting a large percentage of our population, housing, economy, wildlife, and environment at risk from catastrophic fire. Find out what programs and steps we may all take to make our neighborhoods and communities more resilient to wildfires through education, home hardening, strategic fuel reduction, and community collaboration.
    As a handy reference guide, please download this Wildfire Preparation Worksheet and Emergency Evacuation Guide.
    Watch the recording
  • Utility Safety and Handling Emergencies
    Presenter — Stew Roth, PG&E Community Representative
    Are you ready for power shut-offs and possible utility emergencies? PG&E representative Stew Roth presents an informative and engaging discussion dealing with gas and electric infrastructure, identifying utility hazards and risks, and recognizing emergencies and what to do about them.
    Watch the recording
  • Active Shooter — What to Do!
    Presenter — Marsha Hovey, Emergency Management Consultant
    Prepare for an Active Shooter scenario. Learn a survival mindset, planning ahead, decision making and run, hide and fight strategies.
    Watch the recording
  • Risk Management for the CERT Squad
    Presenter — John Collins, Team Leader Scotts Valley/Branciforte CERT
    How do CERTs size-up disaster situations? What are the risks involved? This class will take you through possible scenarios and outline steps to keeping your squad and survivors safe.
    Watch the recording
  • Leader Development
    Presenter — John Collins, Team Leader Scotts Valley/Branciforte CERT
    In an activation, what if you are the first one at the Command Post or assigned as a CERT Team Lead in a new operation? What do you do? Discussion will center on setting up an operation or command post, focusing on situation awareness, and reporting through the chain of command. The class will take you through possible scenarios and outline steps to keeping CERTs and survivors safe.
    Watch the recording
  • Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR)
    Presenter — Stacie McGrady, Retired SAR Officer, and CERT Instructor
    A quick review of SAR from CERT Basic Training, then a discussion on advanced concepts and a deeper dive into structural damage and safe searches.
    Watch the recording
  • Temporary, Portable, and Emergency Power Options
    Presenter — David Dean, Co-Branch Leader for Live Oak/Soquel Branch
    There are now a wide variety of options available for temporary, portable, and emergency power. When there are so many options it’s sometimes hard to keep up with them all, to know what you’re buying or looking for when you buy, or to know what the best choices are for a given situation. This session should help you understand what options are available, what you need to know to evaluate when to use them, and hopefully give you some good ideas for how to prepare the next time you might need temporary, portable or emergency power.
    Watch the recording

Emergency-related training available from other organizations may be found on our Resources page.