CERT Training

Coronavirus Update

Please note:
Due to the potential for transmission of the coronavirus, the Santa Cruz County CERT Auxiliary has suspended most 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 many classes online using the Zoom platform.

CERT Basic Training is currently following a hybrid model which includes a hands-on training for fully vaccinated students only.

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.

About the 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. For the fall of 2021 it is a three-phase process:

  • Phase 1 is a 12-hour FEMA-developed online course of instruction and a 2-hour California CERT-developed online triage unit. The online training is broken into 9 units that may be taken in any order and at your own pace and convenience. You must complete Phase 1 before signing up for Phase 2.
  • Phase 2 is currently a 2.5- to 3-hour Zoom instructor-led training providing local information, teach backs and review of the online CERT training.
  • Phase 3 will be an outdoors hands-on session where you can demonstrate your CERT-related skills. For the safety of all, only fully COVID-vaccinated instructors and students will participate. When you register for Phase 3, you will arrange to pick up your free CERT backpack filled with personal protective gear (PPE). Once you have completed Phase 3, you will receive your CERT certification.

Signing up for the Basic CERT course

  • Phase 1
    Contact Us for more information. We will send you the site information to begin your online training.
  • Phase 2 (Only for those who have completed the Phase 1 course)
    No Phase 2 classes are currently scheduled.
  • Phase 3
    No Phase 3 classes are currently scheduled.
  • 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.

  • No Continuing Education classes are currently scheduled.

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.

  • 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.