Community Emergency Response Team Registration
The Sterling Heights CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, is a group of trained volunteers who can be called into action when the city’s professional responders have been overwhelmed by a massive number of emergency calls due to a widespread disaster or other incident.
Focusing primarily on securing the health and safety of fellow residents, CERT is a FEMA-sponsored program which originated in 1980s Los Angeles in response to earthquakes. After the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, the Federal Government’s Department of Homeland Security developed a national initiative called the Citizen Corps, which encouraged citizens to engage in:
- Personal Preparedness
- Volunteer Service
The CERT program, considered a partner program to the Citizen Corps initiative, educates residents about disaster preparedness and sponsors training of basic emergency skills such as fire suppression, search and rescue (SAR), and handling mass casualties with triage and disaster first aid. The basic training course is a twenty-hour program, offered occasionally at different places around the Detroit metro area.
The CERT program emphasizes working in conjunction with professional responders and community organizations to assist in emergency and event management. We utilize the FEMA Incident Command model, which is covered in the basic training course.
Here in Sterling Heights, CERT is administrated by the Sterling Heights Police Department, but it also works closely with the Sterling Heights Fire Department, as its mission of backing up the first responders applies to both departments.
A typical call-out occurred on March 8, 2017, when the city took significant damage from a wind storm. 911 calls regarding downed trees and power lines came in at a very high rate, and the city’s professional responders were fully tasked with responding to those problems. The CERT team was activated and brought in to watch downed power lines and direct pedestrians and other bystanders away from the hazards, thus freeing up police officers and fire fighters to respond to law enforcement, fire and emergency medical calls.
If you are interested in becoming a CERT member, the requirements are few. You must be an adult, 18 years of age or older, be in reasonably good physical condition, be able to pass a criminal background check, and have the ability to attend the basic training courses. We meet for informational and training purposes approximately every other month, and we agree to make ourselves available for call-outs as much as possible in the event of an emergency.
The Online Registration Form allows you to register to become involved with the Community Emergency Response Team training offered by the Sterling Heights Police and Fire Departments.
Training is free and is intended for persons living, working or operating a business in Sterling Heights.