Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Following a major disaster such as an earthquake, flood, wildfire, or terrorist attack, first responders who provide fire and medical services may not be able to meet the demand for services. For many, this disruption of the emergency services that they have come to expect at a moment's notice by just dialing 911 will become a challenge. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life sustaining needs.

CERT Training

Program Overview

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, simple search and rescue and basic first aid treatment. the CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department 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 train civilians to meet their immediate needs. The CERT concept builds upon citizens understanding their responsibility to prepare themselves for disaster and increase their ability to safely help themselves, their family, and their neighbors.

The CERT in Poway was first organized in 2006 using a $5,000 grant from the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and is sustained with a generous grant of $2,500 from SDG&E each year. Today, the CERT Program follows a curriculum developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is partner with Citizens Corps Program.

CERT Academy

The City of Poway offers a CERT academy annually at the beginning of each calendar year. Training is held at Poway Fire Station #3, 14322 Pomerado Road. Due to space limitations, residents of Poway will be given priority to attend class. Non-Poway residents will be put on a standby list and notified of their acceptance 30 days before classes begin. 

Class participants receive training in basic first aid, fire safety, simple search and rescue, terrorism, emergency preparedness and disaster psychology. At the conclusion of the classroom training, students participate in a practical exercise designed to allow them to apply the skills they learned. Classes are taught by Poway firefighters supplemented with guest speakers. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course. Attendance at all 5 training sessions is required.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023CERT Academy. The date of the 2023  academy are January 28, February 4, 11, 18 & 25. Attendance is required at all five sessions. Please go to the following link to apply for the class: If you have any questions, contact Kristin Holden at Minimum age is 18 years old.

CERT Membership

Graduates of CERT training may wish to become a members of the Poway CERT and participate in refresher training, regional drills and community outreach programs. Members are required to participate in no less than two activities each calendar year.

Poway CERT members assist with CERT Training and network with other volunteers to strengthen the idea that trained citizens can help save lives. Poway CERT organizes volunteers into teams during a large incident or disaster. During an event, Poway CERT members may be called upon to perform a variety of response roles including supporting the city’s Emergency Operations Center, staffing a care and shelter facility, performing community reconnaissance or conducting damage assessment.

Members of Poway CERT must be at least 18 years of age and reside in the City of Poway. For more information, please contact Kristin Holden at 858-668-4466 or

Additional Resources