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COVID-19 Information for National Emergency Training Center Students

Note: effective July 28, 2021, all Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status or level of COVID transmission in your local area, are required to wear a mask inside all DHS workspaces and Federal buildings.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it relates to COVID-19. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is encouraging organizations to promote social distancing, hold meetings via videoconferencing, reduce non-essential travel, and adjust or postpone events and gatherings. We also continue to evaluate the local and national situation and will provide regular updates.

Students will be notified in advance concerning the status of their on-campus course offering.

We thank you for your understanding, and we invite you to visit our extensive catalog of Independent Study Courses as well as classroom courses available by virtual delivery.

IS-315.A: CERT and the Incident Command System (ICS)

Course Date


Course Overview

This Independent Study (IS) course introduces you to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) relationship to the Incident Command System (ICS), a proven management system used by emergency managers to help maintain the safety of disaster workers, provide clear leadership and organizational structure, and improve the effectiveness of rescue efforts. This program educates any Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program manager, CERT trainer, or emergency responder who may manage and/or coordinate with a CERT about the CERT’s potential roles in a disaster or emergency situation.

The course includes four instructional lessons:

Lesson 1: ICS Review, briefly summarizes the components and principles of the Incident Command System.

Lesson 2: CERT as Part of ICS, describes CERT general operations roles with the ICS level. It also discusses ways to integrate CERT programs into your response framework.

Lesson 3: Working with Volunteers, focuses on effective volunteer utilization, best practices for managing volunteers, how VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) differ from CERTs, and how to effectively integrate spontaneous volunteers.

Lesson 4: CERT ICS Communications, discusses how you, as a CERT sponsor or emergency responder, can define and implement effective communication processes with the CERT. This lesson also explains why NIMS (National Incident Management System) terminology is used by all agencies involved in a disaster and how best to communicate with the media.

Course Objectives:

  • List the principles of ICS.
  • Identify components of ICS.
  • Identify CERT general operations within the ICS level.
  • Determine how to integrate CERT programs into the response framework for an area.
  • Identify volunteer motivations.
  • List (at least) three (3) ways to utilize volunteers effectively.
  • Describe special considerations for managing/directing volunteers.
  • Define VOADs and their application.
  • Identify means of interacting with VOADs.
  • Identify means to effectively integrate spontaneous volunteers.
  • Describe effective communication skills and techniques for CERT/ICS communications.
  • Identify how to best communicate with public, media, and responders/emergency management.

Primary Audience

CERT Members


IS-100: The Incident Command System and IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).



Course Length:

2 hours
Take This Course
Take Final Exam
  • Test questions are scrambled to protect test integrity
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