CERT Basic Training

Coronavirus Update

CERT Basic Training is currently a fully in-person training.

See the CERT COVID-19 Policy

(For CERT Continuing Education, see this page. For CERT Advanced Training, see this page.)

The CERT Basic Training Course prepares you to help yourself and others at home and in your community in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

It is important to know, if a major disaster occurs, firefighters, paramedics, and police WILL NOT COME! They will be deployed FIRST to major incidents such as collapsed buildings. That is why you constantly hear that you MUST be prepared to take care of yourself. In the CERT course we say, “Do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” When you are trained, you are far more equipped to deal with your circumstances without needing aid from outside sources.

CERT members are trained in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. You will learn how to prepare for emergencies, what supplies you should NOW have in your house, and most importantly, how to protect your family in an emergency.

Subjects covered in the Basic CERT class

Each class may cover these in a different order
1. Disaster Preparedness

  • Recent Disasters and Emergencies
  • Home and Workplace Preparedness
  • Community Preparedness

2. CERT Organization

  • CERT Organization
  • CERT Mobilization
  • The CERT Team in Action

3 & 4. Disaster Medical Operations

  • Treating Life-Threatening Conditions
  • Triage
  • Treating Injuries and Wounds
  • Mass Casualty incidents
  • Establishing Treatment Areas
  • Head to Toe Assessments
  • Disaster Psychology

5. Disaster Psychology

  • Disaster Reactions
  • Self-Care and Team Well-Being

6. Fire Safety and Utility Controls

  • Fire Chemistry
  • Fire Suppression (for small fires)
  • Fire and Utility Hazards
  • Hazardous Materials

7. Light Search and Rescue Operations

  • Safety During Search and Rescue Operations
  • Conducting Search Operations
  • Conducting Rescue Operations

8. CERT and Terrorism

  • Preparing Your Community
  • Active Shooter Situations
  • Until Help Arrives

9. Review and Exercise

  • Course Review
  • Disaster Simulation
  • Final Exam
When you complete the CERT Basic Course, you have the option to also receive a Disaster Service Worker (DSW) badge good for five (5) years. For re-certification, and to get an updated badge, here are the recertification guidelines and the steps to follow. Contact us if you need re-certification this year.

About the CERT Basic course

CERT Basic In-Person Class

The class will consist of 21 hours which combine lecture, discussion, and hands-on skills practice. Most classes include four evenings and one full weekend day session. The class concludes with one full weekend day session that includes classwork, review, and hands-on team activities including search and rescue, extractions, proper use of fire extinguishers, and cribbing. This class requires attendance at ALL sessions.

— Upcoming class dates:

April/May in Loma Prieta — Thursdays, April 18 and 25, and May 2 and 9, at Loma Prieta Elementary School, 23800 Summit Rd, Loma Prieta/Los Gatos, from 6:00 – 9:30 pm for in-person lecture/hands-on class. ALSO Saturday, May 18, at Loma Prieta Elementary School, 23800 Summit Rd, Loma Prieta/Los Gatos, from 9 am to 4:00 pm for final lectures and outside hands-on scenarios.

Sign up for the in-person class series. Be sure to select the tab for the In-Person Apr-May 2024 Loma Prieta class.

June in Watsonville

This class is being offered for those who prefer to complete the class in fewer (but longer) class days. The class will consist of three 8-hr classes which combine lecture, discussion, and hands-on skills practice. Classes will be taught in English with bilingual Spanish support. Manual available in English or Spanish.

  • Saturday, June 1st, 9am to 5pm — Watsonville Fire Station 2, 370 Airport Blvd, Watsonville
    Topics: AM — Disaster Preparedness, CERT Organization. PM — Disaster Medical Operations (part 1)
  • Saturday, June 8th, 9am to 5pm — Watsonville Fire Station 2, 370 Airport Blvd, Watsonville
    Topics: AM — Disaster Medical Operations (part 2), Disaster Psychology. PM — Fire Safety and Utility Controls, Terrorism
  • Saturday, June 15th, 9am to 4pm — NOTE different location. Central Fire District Administration building, 930 – 17th Ave, Live Oak/Santa Cruz
    Topics: AM — Light Search and Rescue, CERT Teams and DSWs. PM — Skills practice of extinguishing a fire, cribbing, search and rescue, graduation

ALL class sessions are required.

Please contact Joyce Smith (CERT Training Coordinator) with questions.

Sign up for the in-person class series. Be sure to select the tab for the June 2024 Watsonville class.

CERT Basic Online Class

Not quite ready for in-person learning? Your schedule makes classes impossible? The CERT Basic Online Class offers online training that covers many of the basics of the full training. You will not be fully trained without attending in-person classes, but it will give you a good start.

The online training is a 12- to 15-hour FEMA-developed online course of instruction and a 2-hour California CERT-developed online triage unit. The online training is broken into 8 units plus a final exam that may be taken at your own pace and convenience. If interested in the online classes, go to https://csti-ca.csod.com. Sign up for a free account with your name and email. Then Browse Trainings for the two Community Emergency Response Team hybrid trainings.

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