The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD). The Whittier Narrows earthquake 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 disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. 

Expansion of the Program

The CERT program is an official emergency preparedness program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy have adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.