HOW DID THE COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM PROGRAM GET STARTED?
The idea for the CERT program originally started with the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. At this time a group of Los Angeles Fire Fighters had the privilege of visiting Japan to learn about how the local communities in that country respond to fires and natural disasters. During their visit, there was a significant earthquake that affected the region causing death and destruction. These visiting firefighters were able to witness first aid how community members in Japan effectively organized together and helped local officials with disaster response.
The Los Angeles Fire Fighters returned from Japan inspired by what they saw and shortly thereafter began implementing a new program designed to train local citizens in fire suppression and disaster response. It wasn’t long before the program would be put to its first real test. In 1987 on October 1st the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California experienced a magnitude 5.9 earthquake. This earthquake, while modest in size, was still able to cause significant property damage totaling close to $250 million dollars. Not only that, but the earthquake resulted in close to 200 injuries and 3 deaths.
Photo Courtesy via Whittier Daily News
The initial group of trainees that the LAFD had instructed proved invaluable to clean up and recovery efforts during this event. The program the Los Angeles Fire Fighters had copied and created here at home in the United States had demonstrated itself to be a success! It was from this initial pilot program that the concept for CERT would later be expanded upon.
The first official federally funded CERT program began in 1993. Nowadays there are CERT programs in all 50 states of the United States of America as well as all tribal communities and U.S Territories like Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands. The CERT program has helped prepare America’s neighborhoods and communities for disaster and since its inception has been able to train close to 600,000 people in fire suppression, first aid, and disaster preparedness! Not only that but the CERT program has even grown to include training in both English and Spanish, allowing more Americas access to this important life-saving knowledge!
Learn more about the history of the CERT program by visiting the Los Angeles Fire Department page here https://www.lafd.org/join/volunteer/cert
Thanks to HoodieGoodies.com for the info!