Community Emergency Response Team

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.

The CERT program was designed and structured so that the local and state program managers have the flexibility to form their programs in the way that best suits their communities. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well. There are more than 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide, and more than 600,000 individuals have been trained since CERT became a national program.

Complete and submit a CERT Interest Form.

Take a CERT Class

Island County CERT classes run Friday through Sunday and consist of 20 hours of training. You may take this class as many times as you desire as we want you to feel comfortable with the knowledge we are sharing. The class is free to take.

Preparing for Class

There is an optional online course to take before class. This is a no-cost course provided by FEMA – Emergency Management Institute. You are encouraged to complete the course (and the test) prior to the CERT Class. We will be reviewing this coursework in class.

Class Information

When: This is an accelerated class held on three consecutive days. The course is free of charge.

  • 5 to 8 pm on a Friday – Orientation and Introduction
  • 9 am to 5 pm on a Saturday – Classroom and hands-on
  • 9 am to 5  pm on a Thursday – Classroom and hands-on

What to bring: You will need to bring a 1½-inch binder to hold your manual. Bring lunch/snacks and wear comfortable work clothes on Saturday and Sunday as the exercises (drills) will be indoors and out. 

If you need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible. Also, there is room in the class if you have a friend or relative who would like to attend last minute by emailing to 

Schedule of CERT Classes

Please fill out the Registration Packet below and email it to
Date Location
November 3-5, 2023 Coupeville, BOCC room
March 15-17, 2024 Oak Harbor Fire Station
April 2024 Camano Island, Vista Madrona Station
May 3-5, 2024 South Whidbey, Bayview Station

CERT Training Flyer & Registration

What Does the Course Involve?

The course consists of eight units and a review. Classes are taught by trained emergency personnel. The format may very from one or more classes a week to three eight-hour days. Scheduling is up to the instructor and the class. The course agenda is generally as follows:

  • Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.
  • Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
  • Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.
  • Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.
  • Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.