RICHWOODS CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)

1Board Members


Richwoods CERT  is currently looking for new members, anyone interested is urged to attend one of the monthly meeting and help make Richwoods a safer place for everyone.  Come and join in meetings are the Third Tuesday of every month at 7PM located at the Richwoods Lions Club.

Board Members

                            Director - Sharon Johnson
                            Assistant Director - Bob Murphy
                            Secretary - Diana Hash
                            Treasurer - David Hoffmann Jr
                            Member - Bob Hash

CERT Members
                            Sharon Johnson
                            Dolan Johnson
                            Bob Hash
                            Diana Hash
                            David Hoffmann Jr
                            Barb Hays  
                            Doyle Shoemaker
                            Jim Vandivort 
                            Evelyn Vandivort
                            John Yount
                            Rev. Robert Liss
                            Amanda Hagedorn
                            Audery Reichardt

Come join us and your name will be here!

Did You Know...

  • There is a very good chance that your neighborhood will be on its own during the early stages following a catastrophic disaster.
  • After a catastrophic disaster citizens will volunteer to help.  Without proper training these people can expose themselves to potential injury and even death.
  • Experience has shown that basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills improves the ability of citizens to survive until respondersor other assistance arrives.

R-CERT Needs You!

  •  Richwoods CERT has become a part of a national network of CERT communities.  R-CERT has developed a program that is designed to help communities prepare for and respond after catastropic disaster such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and other major emergencies.
  • We need YOU, the Citizen Volunteer, those of civic mind and pride to help in preparation for a day we all hope will never come. The day of a catastrophic disaster right here in your home town and neighborhood.

    What will you do on that day?  Will you be prepared?  Will you and your loved ones survive? 

    R-CERT needs leaders Right Now!
    R-CERT needs Team Members Right Now!
    R-CERT needs Business Sponsers Right Now!

    We believe that Richwoods should be prepared!!

    About CERT

    Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services.  Factors as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911.  People will have to rely on each other for help in oder to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.

    One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other.  This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people.  However, 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others.  This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training.

    If we can predict that emergency services will not meet immediate needs following a major disaster, especially if there is no warning as in an earthquake, and people will spontaneously volunteer, what can government do to prepare citizens for this eventuality?

    First, present citizens the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in terms of immediate services.  Second, give the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness.  Third, train them in needed life saving skills with emphasis on decision makeing skills, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.  Fourth, organize teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professionals services arrive.


    The Communty Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985.  The Whittier Narrows Earthquakd in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California.  Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs.  As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees.

    The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disasters.  It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens.  The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.

    The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it.  This individual will be better prepared to respon to 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.


    The CERT course is delivered in the community by a tean of first responders who have the requisite knowledge and skills to instruct the sessions.  The instructors have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Conducted by their State Training Officer for Emergency Management in order to learn the training techniques that are used successfully by the LAFD.

    The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.  The training consists of the following:
  • Session I, DISASTER 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.
  • Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: 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.
  • Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: 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.
  • Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
  • Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.
  • Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.

During each session participants are required to bring safety equipment (gloves, goggles, mask) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings) which will be used during the session. By doing this for each session, participants are building a disaster response kit of items that they will need during a disaster.


CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is 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. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.


Q: What is CERT?
A: The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Q: How does CERT benefit the community?
A: People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace. If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members can apply the training learned in the classroom and during exercises to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERTs provide useful information to responders and support their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site. CERT members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to distribute and/or install smoke alarms, replace smoke alarm batteries in the home of elderly, distribute disaster education material, provide services at special events, such as parades, sporting events, concerts and more.

Q: Is there a CERT near me?
A: Yes   Richwoods CERT meets on the third tuesday of every month at 7PM  at the Richwoods Lions Club.

Q: How is the CERT funded?
A: Richwood CERT is funded solely by donations.

Q: Why take the CERT training?
A: Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, there can be an emergency or disaster that can overwhelm the community's immediate response capability. While adjacent jurisdictions, State and Federal resources can activate to help, there may be a delay for them getting to those who need them. The primary reason for CERT training is to give people the decision-making, organizational, and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors, and associates while waiting for help. While people will respond to others in need without the training, the goal of the CERT program is to help people do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.

A success story about CERTs comes from events during the wildfires in Florida. The Edgewater CERT helped emergency management and the fire department personnel by assisting with evacuation; handling donations; preparing food for firefighters; and answering the phone while the professionals were fighting the fire. This is a great example of CERT members and response personnel working together for the benefit of the community.

Q: Who can take the training?
A: Naturals for the training are neighborhood watch, community organizations, communities of faith, school staff, workplace employees, scouting organization and other groups that come together regularly for a common purpose. CERT skills are useful in disaster and everyday life events.

Q: How do I take CERT training?
A: To become a CERT member, attend a CERT meeting at the Richwoods Lions Club on the Third Tuesday of every month at 7PM.

Q: What if I want to do more than just the basic training?
A: CERT members can increase their knowledge and capability by attending classes provided by other community agencies on animal care, special needs concerns, donation management, community relations, shelter management, debris removal, utilities control, advanced first aid, Automatic External Defibrillator use, CPR skills, and others. The sponsoring agency should maintain records of this training and call upon CERT members when these additional skills are needed in the community.

CERT member also can use their skills to help the program flourish by volunteering to schedule events, produce a newsletter, perform administrative work, and take leadership positions.

Q: How do CERT members maintain their skills?
A: CERT members and the local sponsoring agency work together to maintain team skills and the working partnership. It is suggested that the sponsor conduct refresher classes and an annual exercise where all CERT members are invited to participate. Some response agencies have conducted joint exercises with CERT teams and operate as they would during an actual disaster. The last point does bring up a lesson learned. Besides training CERT members, it is also important to educate members of response agencies in the community about CERTs, the skills that team members have learned during training and the role that they will have during a major disaster. One way to develop trust between CERT and responders is by encouraging agency personnel to participate in classes as instructors and coaches and in activities with CERT members.

Understanding that CERTs may operate independently following a disaster. CERTs can practice this independence by taking some responsibility for their own training. Teams can design activities and exercises for themselves and with other teams. Some members can be rescuers, some victims, and some evaluators. After the event, there can be a social so that community teams can discuss the exercise and get to know each other.

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