Community Emergency Response Team - CERT

Preparing community members

The idea for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program originated during the late-1980s through the The Los Angeles Fire Department. Then in 1993, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made the program available across the country to help train citizens in disaster response skills.  FGCUCERTLogoSquare.png

CERT members can assist their community during a major emergency when professional help is unavailable. The FEMA CERT Basic Training includes lessons in fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster triage and team organization. CERTs can be found across the country, including at the county and city level, as well as on college and high school campuses. FGCU’s CERT is a student organization, which is an adaptation of the above FEMA program, tailored to our campus and community.  Our program is operated by students, faculty, and staff at FGCU who receive both the CERT Basic Training as well as advanced training in specific areas to maximize our effectiveness.

CERT Training Topics

  • Fire Suppression - FGCU CERT Members are trained in fire science and suppression, giving them the knowledge and skills to classify and extinguish small fires in the absence of professional firefighters.
  • Search and Rescue - Training includes techniques for organized search and rescue in lightly and moderately damaged structures. Proper training in search methodology, debris removal, victim location, and extraction can save lives during a disaster.
  • Medical Operations- FGCU CERT Members receive basic First Aid training, which includes airway management, bleeding control, and more! After basic training, Team Members have the option to further their training and become a certified Emergency Medical Responder.
  • Disaster Psychology – FGCU CERT Training contains content on psychological effects of disasters on both responders and victims. Students learn how to approach and comfort survivors and manage stress as a responder. Opportunities are available for further emergency mental health training.
  • Advanced Training - FGCU CERT Members have access to advanced training offered by local, state, and federal levels of emergency management agencies. FEMA, the State of Florida, the American Red Cross, and other partner organizations offer our members many options for supplementary training in the field.
  • Emergency Shelter Training – FGCU CERT Members are trained by Lee County Emergency Management to assist with emergency shelter operations on FGCU’s campus and elsewhere in the community.


Register to be a CERT Volunteer

FGCU CERT members and FGCU students, faculty, and staff may participate in any trainings and non-emergency volunteer opportunities.  To deploy into an emergency situation, FGCU CERT members must have completed CERT Basic Training from any FEMA recognized CERT Chapter and have a satisfactory FGCU background check.