CERT training returns to in-person classes

A CERT trainee operates a fire extinguisher while a trainer serves as her spotter while also holding a fire extinguisher. The spotter holding an extra extinguisher is a new practice for CERT. Photo Courtesy of CERT Malibu's Instagram.

For the past two years, the City of Malibu has been providing minimal in-person and mainly virtual Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the city has just announced the return of in-person classes. 

CERT is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) community disaster preparedness program that offers highly-acclaimed free courses administered by the City of Malibu and by public safety agencies across the country and helps empowers citizens during disasters. 

“The classes will provide valuable insight into emergency management and best practices to make you, your family and your neighbors safer in an emergency,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “The training will make you a better-prepared citizen by teaching you first aid, triage skills, basic firefighting and advising you on building your emergency supplies pantry.”

The nationwide CERT program, developed in 1985 by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, provides basic training in safety and lifesaving skills to the general public. It has since then been adopted and enhanced by FEMA and the National Fire Academy. 

Grisanti said the most important part of practicing is being a part of a response team.

On Aug. 28, 2017, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 17-32, which established the CERT Program Guidelines, clarifying the role and responsibilities of the Malibu CERT by outlining the requirements to become a member of the team, organizational structure, team responsibilities, ongoing participation requirements, and activation procedures.

CERT members are locals who have graduated from a CERT class and completed the additional team requirements, including additional FEMA training, and shown dedication and commitment to the team by meeting or exceeding the hour requirement for the team, and registered with the city as a volunteer disaster service worker.

City of Malibu Public Safety Specialist Sarah Kaplan said graduates could help their neighbors until professional responders arrive.

“CERT Training is free training that gives residents the skills to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters,” Kaplan said. “The hands-on instruction and the final drill, a simulated disaster, give participants the confidence to take action and organize those around after a disaster. The class is also a great way to meet your Local CERT team members and build community connections.”

CERT Training 1
Prospective CERT volunteers attend a training session in Malibu. CERT training is done to help empowers citizens during disasters. Photo Courtesy of CERT Malibu’s Instagram.

Through hands-on training, participants learn the most up-to-date information on basic disaster preparedness, how to use a fire extinguisher, disaster medical care, first aid, search and rescue techniques, disaster psychology, and neighborhood team building.

CERT volunteers are a crucial part of the city’s ability to prepare and respond to disasters. The program will run Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., from June 15-27 and a final drill on Saturday, July 30. Participants must complete all seven classes, and the final to receive a certificate of completion. Space is limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so participants are urged to sign up early at eventbrite.com/e/malibu-cert-class-tickets-344451161697 to ensure their seat. 

To receive notification of future CERT training or other emergency preparedness classes offered by the city, go to MalibuCity.org/news and subscribe to the Emergency Preparedness Calendar or visit www.eventbrite.com/o/city-of-malibu-16924309641 to view upcoming events.

To sign up, visit malibusafety/eventbrite.org. For more information, contact publicsafety@malibucity.org or call (310) 456-2489, ext. 368. Follow certmalibu on Instagram to see available resources and upcoming events.