Naperville Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
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.