Naperville Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

Naperville adopted the CERT program in 2005 and began training its citizens in disaster relief. Classes are conducted by the city and additional classes are scheduled each year. The 20 hour classes cover disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, CERT organization, disaster psychology and terrorism. Active members of the CERT Team are also given the opportunity to attend additional training to improve their emergency response skills.

Prior to 9/11 there were only about 175 CERT Teams nationwide. Since then this number has grown to 2,435 and is expected to continue to grow. The teams are taking an “all-hazards approach, not limiting themselves to terrorism. This approach covers potential hazards related to weather events, transportation incidents, hazardous materials as well as terrorism.

A leadership team has been formed in Naperville known as the Citizen’s Corps Council (CCC). The CCC is sponsored by the city and is one of 86 such organizations recognized by the state. It receives both city and federal funding in the administration of its duties. The CCC meets monthly to provide ongoing direction to the CERT program.