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The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the preparedness and safety of the community.

The CERT training addresses disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, light search and rescue operations, and disaster psychology. The CERT training is adjusted to accommodate the physical abilities and limitations of the individual student. Safety is paramount to all CERT activities.

Fairfax County offers two levels of CERT training. The CERT Basic course consists of nine Units over 20 hours of instruction. Classroom sessions are complimented with hands-on drills and classroom exercises.

CERT Basic is taught in the community by volunteer instructors. The CERT Level 2 course is conducted at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy using the same classroom instruction supplemented with more extensive drills and exercises using actual search and rescue facilities. CERT 2 is taught by Fire Department instructors assisted by CERT volunteer instructors. The CERT 2 courses culminate in a full-scale exercise that uses a disaster training site and live actor-victims.

All CERT training is overseen by trained instructors and first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course conducted by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

For more information on this program, please visit

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