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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.

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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-317.A: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs)

Course Date


Course Overview

This Independent Study (IS) course is an introduction to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program for those interested in learning about the CERT program for their own knowledge or as a pre-requisite for completing the CERT Basic classroom training that may be available in your community.

The course includes three lessons: Introduction to CERT; What CERTs Do; and, Becoming Involved.

In Lesson 1, Introduction to CERT, you will learn what a CERT is, the origin of the national CERT program, examples of local CERT volunteer organizations, and the general and national purpose of CERT.

Lesson 2: What CERTs Do, describes CERT roles and responsibilities, how CERTs work with formal emergency response organizations, how CERTs integrate into an Incident Command System (ICS) structure, and what CERTs do and do not do. The lesson describes various CERT volunteer organizations and offers examples of how CERT programs have been implemented around the country and for different communities. You will also learn about case study examples of how CERT programs are helping various communities.

Lesson 3: Becoming Involved, discusses the required training to become a CERT volunteer, the benefits of being a CERT volunteer, and what you may be asked to do as part of a CERT. This lesson identifies ways in which you, as a CERT volunteer, can serve your community during emergencies and how the CERT organization can provide for your effective participation in disaster response.

Remember: It is important to understand that completion of this Independent Study course is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic training. To become a CERT volunteer, you must complete the classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. Contact your local emergency manager to learn about the local education and training opportunities available to you.

Course Objectives:

  • Define and describe CERT program.
  • Identify ways a CERT helps national resilience.
  • Identify ways CERT members can help their community.
  • List CERT member roles and responsibilities.
  • Identify benefits of being a CERT member.
  • List components of the CERT training program.

Primary Audience

Prospective CERT members





Course Length:

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