CERT Training


Coronavirus Update

Please note:
Due to the potential for transmission of the coronavirus, the Santa Cruz County CERT Auxiliary is suspending in-person group activities indefinitely. We will reschedule in-person CERT courses and classes when it is again considered safe for group activity. In the meantime, we will be conducting classes online using the Zoom platform.
You are welcome to register for in-person Basic CERT courses and Continuing Education classes if we schedule them, but recognize that they may be postponed until a later date. We will contact you if the class is postponed, and you will be given top priority when the class is rescheduled.

Basic CERT Training Courses

The Basic CERT Training Course prepares you to handle disaster situations, at home and in your community. You will learn what to do on your own, and what to do as part of a CERT team.

When you complete the 21-hour Basic CERT Course, you 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.

Currently scheduled Basic CERT courses (past courses may be found on the Events page):

  • Information about the online Basic CERT Course
    Thank you for your interest in the CERT Program. As you can imagine with COVID-19, we’ve have had to change the way we teach CERT. Now it is a two-step process with a 12 hour online course of instruction and 16 hours of hands-on training done in 2 increments.The online training is broken into 9 units that may be taken in any order and at your own pace and convenience. Following successful completion of the online segment, you advance to a 16-hour hands-on training with CERT instructors on procedures necessary to receive your CERT credential. This will all be done using COVID-19 precautions.The first hands-on training will be outside with distancing, masks, gloves, and plenty of sanitizer. The second training will be at the Aptos or Felton firehouse using the same precautions. We will be training only 4-5 people, a “team,” at one time in the FEMA-required concepts, plus reviewing leadership, Incident Command System (ICS) and team concepts. It is preferred that people from the same neighborhood form a team but that is not a requirement. You will receive your free backpack filled with personal protective gear (PPE) at the beginning of the second training.If this is something that interests you or if you seek more information or have questions, please email CERTAuxiliary@gmail.com and let us know that you would like to receive the site information to begin your online training.
  • 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. Fire Safety

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

    3. Disaster First Aid

    • Treating Life-Threatening Conditions
    • Triage
    • Treating Injuries and Wounds
    • Disaster Psychology

    4. CERT Organization

    • Mobilization
    • The CERT Team in Action

    5. Light Search and Rescue

    • Building Construction
    • Conducting Search Operations
    • Conducting Rescue Operations

    6. Review and Exercise

    • Course Review
    • Disaster Simulation
    • Final Exam

CERT Continuing Education Classes

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 certauxiliary@gmail.com about procedures to follow for recertification.)

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.

  • Sep 10: Utility Safety and Handling Emergencies — Postponed
    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.
    — Thursday, September 10, 7-8:30 pm, on Zoom
    Note: this class has been postponed because of the fires. It will be rescheduled.
  • Nov 6&7: CERT Crowd and Traffic Management
    Presenter — Mark Sheldon, Safety Institute, nonprofit providing safety education nationwide
    Historically, traffic management is the number one reason CERTs are activated. Recent safety issues created requirements for breakaway and retroreflective vests, plus traffic management certification for CERTs to perform the task. The CERT Auxiliary is now collaborating with the Safety Institute, another nonprofit, developing a specific CERT course. The subjects included are intersection (including people crossing on highways), right of way, road closure, unexpected breakdowns and crowd monitoring events. This would be for both day- and night-time. Course graduates will receive Traffic Management Certification and a Caltrans-compliant safety vest. Space is limited.
    Note: this class is available only for those who have completed the CERT Basic course.
    — Friday, November 6, 9-11:45 am, on Zoom, plus Hands-on session Saturday, November 7, 9-10:30 am (Register)
    — Friday, November 6, 9-11:45 am, on Zoom, plus Hands-on session Saturday, November 7, 11 am-12:30 pm (Register)
    The hands-on sessions will be at a location TBD, with masks and physical distancing. You must be able to attend both the Zoom session and one of the hands-on sessions.

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 training@santacruzcountycert.org.

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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