Community Emergency Response Team

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is a critical component in the effort to engage every person in America toward helping make their communities safer, more prepared and more resilient when incidents occur.

The Gwinnett CERT program is managed by the Gwinnett County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and includes Initial CERT Training and CERT Volunteer opportunities. In a large-scale operation where the first responder system is overwhelmed, individuals who have completed Initial CERT Training will have the skills to provide assistance in their homes, neighborhoods, and local communities until first responders arrive. Approved CERT Volunteers can go beyond and serve in administrative functions within Gwinnett OEM and take additional training to serve in more complex capacities such as supporting local emergency responders and other support agencies within the Emergency Management System.


CERT Training

The course includes topics covered in the FEMA CERT Basic Training Curriculum. 

  • Disaster Preparedness: Introduction to disasters specific to Gwinnett County and the impact of disasters on infrastructure.
  • Disaster Fire Suppression: Identifying and reducing potential fire hazards and basic fire suppression.
  • Disaster Medical Operations, Part I: Treatment strategies for life-threatening conditions and principles of triage.
  • Disaster Medical Operations Part II: Head-to-toe patient assessment and treatment for various injuries.
  • CERT Organization: Identifying the CERT Organization and how CERT relates to the Incident Command System.
  • Disaster Psychology: The post-disaster emotional environment will be discussed.
  • Terrorism and CERT: A brief overview of weapons of terrorism.
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations: Techniques for sizing up and searching, lifting, cribbing, and removing victims; rescuer safety.
  • Final Exercise: A realistic disaster simulation designed to reinforce the skills learned in class.

Training is provided by Gwinnett County Office of Emergency Management instructors along with volunteer trainers who have completed the CERT program and technical representatives from other professional organizations.  Classes are normally taught one night a week for seven weeks, followed by a final drill and disaster simulation at the end of the course. The training is free.  

Individuals attending CERT Training will be provided a basic preparedness kit. In addition to the preparedness kit, approved CERT Volunteers will receive a CERT T-shirt, identification card, and lanyard.


CERT Volunteers

CERT volunteers can be utilized for support in emergency or non-emergency situations. Requests for assistance will be coordinated through the Gwinnett County Office of Emergency Management. In the aftermath of a disaster, CERT volunteers may assist at an event that occurs in close proximity to their physical location, such as their neighborhood or place of work, when professional emergency services are not immediately available. Gwinnett CERT volunteers are NOT authorized to self-deploy to an emergency that they hear about on the radio, television, scanner, social media, etc.  

Public Safety organizations can request assistance from CERT Volunteers for non-emergency public safety activities.  Requests of this type are made through and approved by the Gwinnett County Office of Emergency Management.


Application Process

All applicants must be at least 18 years old and successfully pass a background check, also free of charge through the Gwinnett County Police Department. 

The next available CERT classes in 2014 are June 3rd through July 19th, and September 2nd through October 18th. To register for a class, please complete a volunteer application form. For more information, please email EMA@gwinnettcounty.com and put "CERT Training" in the subject line.