Join Arlington County’s Community Emergency Response Team PDF Print E-mail

Do you want to be better prepared for and able to recover from emergencies in your home, workplace and community?  Are you interested in being part of a neighborhood/building team trained to help save and sustain lives following a major disaster?  If so, Arlington County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training may be for you.


In late 2002, Arlington County began training interested citizens to become members of neighborhood-based Community Emergency Response Teams.  Since that time, over 700 residents in more than 50 neighborhoods -- along with a number of business people who work in the county, but reside elsewhere -- have completed the training.  Similar teams were introduced in California in the 1980s to assist during wildfires and earthquakes and have since spread across the country and around the globe. The CERT has been deployed to assist following a number of natural disasters, including the derecho and Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.


Under the guidance and sponsorship of the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management, Fire Department, and Citizen Corps -- and using materials developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) -- interested citizens undergo approximately 26 hours of training over a six-week period (six weeknights and two Saturday mornings).  Topics covered include:

  • disaster preparedness
  • disaster medical operations
  • light search and rescue
  • disaster psychology
  • fire suppression & utility shutoff
  • team organization & management
  • terrorism

The course concludes with a mock disaster/final exercise where participants put into practice all theyâ??ve learned.


Those who participate in Arlington County CERT training must be at least 18 years old (16 or 17 if accompanied by an adult), must reside and/or work in Arlington, and must be able to participate in all aspects of the training and final exercise, some of which may be physically demanding (e.g., lifting, carrying, crawling on the floor, and putting out fires). Those who wish to continue on to become members of their neighborhood CERT will be required to complete two independent study incident command system courses and pass a criminal background check.  The training is free, but those who become members are expected to acquire certain supplies (about $75 worth), many of which you should already have on-hand.


If youâ??re interested in participating â?? or would like to learn more about CERT (in Arlington County or neighboring jurisdictions) -- send an e-mail requesting additional information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .