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Contra Costa County CERT Program Unit 6 – CERT Organization. Released: 6 September 2010. Community Emergency Response Team. Personal safety is ALWAYS the number one priority Work as a team Wear personal protective equipment…gloves, helmet, goggles, N95 mask and boots

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Contra Costa County CERT Program Unit 6 – CERT Organization

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Contra Costa County CERT ProgramUnit 6 – CERT Organization

Released: 6 September 2010

Community Emergency Response Team

  • Personal safety is ALWAYS the number one priority

  • Work as a team

  • Wear personal protective equipment…gloves, helmet, goggles, N95 mask and boots

  • The CERT goal is to do the

    Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

  • Hope for the best but plan for the worst

Unit 6 - CERT Organization


  • Describe the CERT organization

  • Identify how CERTs interrelate with ICS

  • Explain documentation requirements

Purpose of On-Scene Management

  • Maintain physical safety of disaster workers

  • Maintain mental well being of disaster workers

  • Provide clear leadership and organizational structure

  • Improve effectiveness of rescue efforts

Need for CERT Organization

Incident Command System provides:

  • Well-defined management structure

  • Manageable span of control

  • Common terminology

  • Effective communication

  • Consolidated action plans

  • Comprehensive resource management

  • Accountability

Objectives of CERT Organization

  • Identifies the scope of the incident

    • What is the problem?

  • Determines an overall strategy

    • What can CERT do, and will they do it?

  • Deploys resources

    • Who is going to do what?

  • Documents actions and results

    • If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen

  • CERT & ICS


    • Provides flexibility of resource management

    • Management Span of Control

    • There are 5 major management activities in ICS

      • Command

      • Operations

      • Planning

      • Logistics

      • Finance/ Administration

    ICS Management


    • Is between 3 and 7 team members

    • Optimally does not exceed 5 team members

    CERT and ICS



    Basic CERT ICS

    Command and Control

    • Incident Commander… “What to do”

      • CERT leader

    • Operations… “How to do it”

      • Manage the teams in the field

    • Logistics… “How to support it”

      • Manage resources, supplies and equipment

    • Planning / Intelligence… “What’s going on”

      • Make incident plans,Collect and display information

    • Administration… “What gets recorded”

      • Collect and compile documentation

    ICS – Incident Commander




    DO IT

    • Sets objectives and priorities, has overall responsibility at the incident or event.

    • Establishes the command post

    • Assigns personnel as needed

    • Initially may be responsible for Operations, Plans, Logistics and Administration duties. As event grows the IC will delegate these.

    • Ensures coordination of staff actions and activities

    Dealing with the Media

    • Refer media inquiries to CERT Team Leader / IC

    • Do not let media interfere with CERT goals

    CERT Operations Section

    ICS - Operations


    • Develops the operations tactics

    • Develops the organization structure

    • Conducts tactical operations to carry out the plan

    • Directs all resources deployed

    ICS - Plans


    • Develops the action plan to accomplish the objectives defined for the event

    • Collects and evaluates information

    • Maintains resource status on all equipment and personnel during event

    • Maintains incident documentation

    ICS - Logistics


    • Provides resources and all other services needed to support an incident:

      • Personnel

      • Food

      • Communications

      • Facilities

      • Transportation, etc.

    ICS - Administration


    • Responsible for costs related to incident

    • Provides accounting, procurement, time recording and cost analyses

    CERT Structure

    • CERT Leader (Incident Commander)

      • Appointed to direct CERT team activities

      • In a disaster response, this person is usually the first person to arrive at the pre-designated staging area

    • Command Post

      • Location the CERT Leader establishes for command and control of incident

    • CERT Leader may appoint Operations, Planning, Logistics, etc. as incident expands

    • A CERT incident may be small or large

    CERT Mobilization


    • Take care of themselves, their family, their home and their neighbors

    • Respond to staging area, gathering facts along the way

    • First to arrive is in charge of incident and is CERT Leader

    • CERT organization should have effective communications, a manageable span of control and maintain accountability

    The greatest good for the greatest number without placing CERT members in harms way

    CERT Mobilization

    CERT Mobilization (When, Where & How)

    • Depending on CERT protocols, CERT members respond to pre-designated locations ready for response

    • CERT IC will develop an organization plan

    • Priorities may change as operation continues; CERT IC needs to stay on top of these shifting priorities

    • Communications must be organized, efficient and effective

    • ICS was developed to assist in the management of major incidents - Use it

    • Goal is always to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people while maintaining CERT safety

    CERT Decision Making Review

    • Heavy damage = No rescue, mark as heavy damage, warn people to stay away

    • Moderate damage = Minimize rescuers time in building

    • Light damage = Locate, triage, treat, and prioritize victim removal

    Team Functions in Light Damage

    • Search & Rescue Group

      • Locate, triage, tag, transport ‘Delayed’ and ‘Immediate’ to medical treatment area, document

    • Medical Group

      • Triage again, head-to-toe, treatment, transport “Immediates” to a higher level of medical care, document

    • Utility Control Group

      • Shut off utilities as needed, extinguish small fires, document

    Team Functions in Moderate Damage

    • Search & Rescue Group

      • Locate, stabilize, evacuate, triage in safe area, warn others, document

    • Other Groups as Necessary such as: Utilities Group

      • Shut off utilities as needed, extinguish small fires, document

    • Medical Group

      • Triage again, head-to-toe in safe area, treatment in safe area, transport “Immediates” to a higher level of medical care, document

    Team Functions in Heavy Damage

    • Search & Rescue Group

      • Search around the perimeter for victims, gather information, warn others, document

    • Utility Control Group

      • Shut off utilities if safe to do so, document


    • Under CERT each level of authority is responsible for documentation (Incident Commander, Operations, Planning, Logistics, Administration / Finance)

    Documentation Responsibilities

    • CERT Teams provide the Command Post with ongoing information and documentation on:

      • Damage assessment

      • Team status

      • Ongoing needs

    • Command Post documents:

      • Incident status

        • Incident locations, Access routes, Identified hazards

        • Support locations: Staging Area, Treatment/Triage Areas, Morgue

    CERT Forms

    • Damage Assessment

    • Personnel Resources Sign-In

    • Incident/Assignment Tracking Log

    • Briefing Assignment

    • Victim Treatment Area Record

    • Communications Log

    • Equipment Inventory

    • General Message

      Forms are in Participant Manual pages 6-20 to 6-28

    It’s Break Time, and then Exercise Time


    • A disaster has happened.

    • You took care of your family and the people in your neighborhood.

    • Now you are at the ‘mustering” site, the pre-arranged location where you met the other available CERTs.

    • Your group was able to establish contact with the EOC and was duly activated.

    • You are about to receive assignments. The Incident Commander expects your team to report what it has done at the end of the day.

    How Did You Do?

    In The End Calm Heads Prevail

    Unit Summary

    • CERT Organization

      • CERTs are part of ICS

    • ICS

      • Flexible and Scalable

      • Command Structure

    • Documentation

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