Skip to search box Skip to main content

Click the links below for information from Suffolk County on the current pandemic

Text Only Version

Suffolk County CERT

Graphic of the Suffolk County CERT Logo

Would you know what to do if you were the first to arrive at the scene of an accident? What if a hurricane or other disaster crippled Suffolk County and left scores of families homeless or in life-threatening danger, would you know what to do?

Would you like to?

The Citizen Corps Council is the County's focal point for matching civil-minded individuals and groups with such vital programs as the Community Emergency Response Team...Volunteers in Police Service...and the Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteer and you'll be trained to play a vital role in supporting emergency personnel whenever an emergency or disaster occurs. Now that you know how you can make a real contribution to the safety and security of Suffolk County...and our nation...Join Now!

Do the right thing.  For your family. For your community.

Across America, states and local Citizen Corps Councils are building a grass-roots infrastructure of national preparedness.  Through the Suffolk County Corps Council, civic-minded individuals and groups are being trained to supplement emergency help them ensure public respond when a major crisis threatens to overwhelm the available resources - threats that today are too real.
Joining one of our programs means you'll receive valuable, professional training absolutely free, as well as the knowledge that you're serving your country and making a genuine contribution to the safety and security of Suffolk County.  Join Now and we'll help find the job that's right for you.

Mission Statement

The Suffolk County Community Emergency Response Team's (CERT) mission is to serve and safeguard our community through efficient and effective volunteer service, which helps protect life and property ensuring "the greatest good, for the greatest number." The CERT Program is comprised of volunteer teams who are trained in basic safety and emergency preparedness. This community based program helps provide rapid and safe care for Suffolk County residents in the event of a major incident or large scale disaster. When called upon, Suffolk County CERT volunteers provide basic care, stabilization and information within their communities until emergency responders can arrive on the scene, and upon request, will remain on scene to assist emergency responders as long as necessary. During non-emergency situations, Suffolk County  CERT focuses on public education and awareness to help increase the emergency preparedness of all residents in Suffolk County.

About CERT

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is an official emergency preparedness program of FEMA. CERT trains community members at no cost on how to safely and Picture of CERT CPR TRAININGeffectively prepare for and respond to disasters. CERT empowers people by teaching them the skills to help keep themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods safer.

The concept of CERT was first developed and implemented by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985 after a series of devastating earthquakes. While the professional emergency responders were overwhelmed with the catastrophe, thousands were left dead, injured, and without emergency services. Hundreds of citizens spontaneously and heroically sprung into action to rescue others, but tragically more than 100 of them ended up losing their own lives in the process. This event emphasized the need to teach community members life-saving disaster response skills.

In 1993, the CERT program was made nationally available by FEMA. After September 11, 2001, people in every corner of the country asked, "What can I do?" and "How can I help?" A program named Citizen Corps was created to help all Americans answer these questions. Citizen Corps became the umbrella for five programs: CERT, Medical Reserve Corps, Fire Corps, Volunteers in Police Service, and Neighborhood Watch. All of these programs center on citizens embracing a personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety. While under the umbrella of Citizen Corps, the CERT program's strength grew across the country.

The reality is that professional emergency responders can not everywhere once in a disaster. People need to know how to help themselves. If there is a natural or man-made event that overwhelms or delays the community’s professional emergency responders, CERT members have the basic skills to help themselves and those around them. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can save lives, protect property, and prevent themselves from becoming victims.

During a large-scale disaster, the response of any community’s emergency services may be delayed or overwhelmed for a variety of reasons. This leaves the citizens of the community - family, neighbors, and co-workers - to provide for their own well-being and safety until professional responders arrive. This very reality is the cornerstone of the Suffolk County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.

The goal of the CERT program is to provide the private citizens who complete the course with the basic skills that they will need to respond to their community’s immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster, when emergency services are not immediately available. By working together, CERTs can assist in saving lives and protecting property using the basic techniques in this course.

The CERT program is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. The program provides 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. CERT is a community based volunteer effort and is a component of the Suffolk County Citizen Corps Council’s program.

The CERT program strives to present citizens with the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in their community and to deliver the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness. Through didactic and hands-on sessions they receive training in needed life saving skills with emphasis on decision making, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. Lastly, local CERT program managers will likely organize teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.

Join the Suffolk County Community Emergency Response Team
Learn about the training CERT volunteers receive:
Learn more about Emergency Preparedness: Visit the Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management
CERT Portal
CERT Membership

CERT Training

Join the
Suffolk County
Community Emergency
Response Team

The Community Emergency Response Team  (CERT) training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 13 week period. The training consists of the following:

  • EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
  • FIRE SAFETY: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
  • EMERGENCY MEDICAL OPERATIONS: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner. Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • CPR: Students will be taught the techniques to perform CPR and how to use an AED.
  • LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
  • DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker.
  • CERT ORGANIZATION: Addresses CERT organization and management principles used to maintain safety of disaster workers, provide for a clear leadership and organizational structure and improve the effectiveness of rescue efforts.
  • TERRORISM AND CERT: Defines terrorism and describes the goals of terrorists. Participants will learn the CERT protocols for terrorist incidents and protective action following an event.
  • IS 100: This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  • IS 700-NATIONAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (NIMS): Participants will learn how NIMS will help to coordinate and integrate the response to domestic incidents.
  • AMERICAN RED CROSS SHELTER OPERATIONS AND SIMULATION: Participants will learn how to effectively and sensitively manage shelter operations as a team, to meet the needs of people displaced as a result of a disaster.
     picture of suffolk cert fire extinguisher training

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901