On this page you will find answers to common questions about the Menlo Park Fire Protection District's CERT program. If there is something that you like to know that is not answered here, please contact us.
www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams.apply online for CCM membership. Membership in CCM enables you to register for free classes, and have a voice in electing the volunteer leaders of CCM. It also allows you to have a voice in how CCM sets its priorities for training, exercises, events, and other business of the CCM program. You can also take the first portion of the CERT course on personal preparedness and elect to not join the CERT team (if disaster response just isn't your thing). Membership is entirely optional. Only residents that live within the boundaries of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District can vote in CERT elections. However, non-residents (such as people who work in within the MPFPD but live elsewhere) may join our CERT program. CCM membership is open to all ages, however CERT responders must be 18 or older.
MPFPD CCM members meet at least annually as an organization.
CCM members are encouraged to attend periodic neighborhood and district-wide meetings, training, and exercises. The frequency of these meetings will vary by neighborhood and your interest in various CCM / CERT training topics.
There are two basic protections against lawsuits arising from actions taken during an emergency available to CERT members in California.
1. California Good Samaritan Laws. Like many states, California law indemnifies citizens against lawsuits when they take actions during an emergency who act in good faith and within the scope of their training to render aid to the injured.
2. Designation as a California Disaster Service Worker (DSW). Officially activated CERT members are protected under DSW, subject to the stipulations and limitations within California statutes. Activation happens when the Menlo Park Fire District uses its emergency notification system to request the assistance of specific CERT Teams. DSW serves to help you should you be injured on the job during an authorized CERT response.
The CERT Basic Training Course provides an introduction to CERT, combining classroom and hands-on activities in areas such as:
Other courses will be offered from time to time on more advanced aspects of these topics. The Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) also has a large number of online courses that are suitable for CERT members. See our training page for more information.
Yes. CCM is active in various community events such as street fairs, neighborhood block parties, and other events providing information to local citizens on emergency preparedness, disaster response, and home fire safety. We also provide radio communications and basic first aid for such events.
There are approximately 400 volunteers, with varying levels of activity within the organization.
CERT members must be 18 years or older in order to become a member of CERT. Younger children may take the course but may not be deployed as a CERT.
There are no physical restrictions on members. While not everyone may be able to actively and safely participate in field activities, there are plenty of opportunities for other functions for members with limited mobility or other restrictions. We will make reasonable accommodations for members with physical impairments.
The District CERT Advisor has the authority to waive the need for taking the basic MPFPD CERT course. However, we will ask you to complete our CERT course as soon as possible to become familiar with specific threats in our area and to meet others from your neighborhood.
CERT members interested in becoming a CERT trainer must complete a “Train the Trainer” course. These classes are offered periodically in the Bay Area and other regional locations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find about the next class.
Does CERT work with agencies such as the Red Cross, law enforcement, and other emergency organizations?
Yes, but indirectly. In case of a CERT mobilization we always report to MPFPD first. This is called “chain of command.” MPFPD would coordinate activities with other agencies.
Yes. CERT is always in need of amateur radio operators. They are key members of our communications team and strategy. Take a look at our Radio page to see how to participate in our monthly radio check-in.
Go to Neighborhoods to learn which neighborhood (district) you live in and the name of your neighborhood coordinator. If you neighborhood does not have a coordinator, please consider becoming one. Contact email@example.com
Courses are announced on the homepage of our website in the Calendar section. Follow the links to register online. For questions about any CERT courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our primary method is through San Mateo County (SMC) alert, a text messaging and email system. In case of an area-wide emergency such as an earthquake, after checking their personal safety and that of the immediate family and neighbors, CERT members should report to their designated neighborhood assembly or to the nearest fire station to assemble into teams and set up an incident command team. See Neighborhoods page for more reporting information.
I am really only interested in learning emergency preparedness for myself and my family. Can I still take the Basic CERT class?
Yes. CERT is about community preparedness and response. Being better prepared for disaster and trained to respond to emergencies benefits all CERTs, both active and inactive. If you are looking for a basic disaster preparedness class without the 20-hour training commitment of CERT, we suggest a Get Ready to be Prepared class. See our Training and Events Calendar on the home page.
CERT is a free program. It is financially supported by FEMA, the State of California, and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, and through the efforts of dozens of volunteers.
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