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CERT / HISTORY:
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The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need to for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens, as well as private and government employees.
 
The training program that LAFD initiated is an important program and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their families and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and National Fire academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials for all hazards.
 
The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual ill be better prepared to respond and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders.
 
These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, Communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.