Yakima County C.E.R.T.

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.

YCCERT members will have the opportunity to volunteer with Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management during disasters or normal office operations by responding to disasters, volunteering in our Emergency Operations Center, volunteering in our office, or assisting with public outreach events throughout the county. Check out some of the events that our CERT members have attended in the past in the slideshow below. 

CERT Members will need to go through the CERT Basic Course is delivered in the community by a team of first responders, and other qualified volunteers. The organization and timing of training and meetings vary but  are often broken up into two to four hour blocks over a series of evenings or weekends.

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.

Those interested in becoming a YCCERT member should contact Horace Ward at horace.ward@co.yakima.wa.us. CERT courses will be offered BI-Annually or at anytime the request of large groups such a churches or other volunteer organizations. 

If you would like to learn more about CERT you are welcome to take IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams which you can access by following this link: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-317 (this course is free as are all courses hosted by the Emergency Management Institute but you will need to follow the directions to obtain a student ID before taking these courses)