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As a teen, there are probably a lot of things you’re told you can’t do. But there is one very important thing you can do: Learn to protect yourself, your family, and your friends in case of disaster. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is a national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response. Volunteers come from all ages and all walks of life, including teenagers like you! Through Teen CERT, you can serve your community and help take care of your school and home.

Why Join?

Teen looking at Teen CERT brochure

Would you know what to do if an emergency struck your community or your school? After a disaster, professional responders will be needed everywhere. In the chaotic aftermath of an emergency, who could help until professional responders arrive? Who could be the first person on-scene to step up? The answer: You.

In most emergencies, a bystander, or even the victim, provides the first immediate assistance. Joining Teen CERT teaches you how to respond when others look to you for help.

teen cert member wearing a hard hat

What You’ll Do

We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe—no matter where you live, no matter who you are, no matter how you participate. What role will you play? Once you complete your CERT training, you can participate in or lead a variety of activities.

During an emergency, your Teen CERT could: organize volunteers, assist in evacuations, give assistance to survivors, provide damage assessment information, provide shelter support, and assist with crowd control.

Teen CERTs can also help in their schools year-round. Your Teen CERT could: participate in disaster drills and exercises, present fire safety education, assist in preparedness outreach, provide peer mentoring, and address safety issues in the school.

person working on workbook

What You’ll Learn

It takes about 20 hours to complete the CERT training. But the critical skills you learn will last your entire life. During the training, you will learn to: put out small fires, conduct light search and rescue, assist those who are injured, set up medical treatment areas, assist emergency responders, identify and anticipate hazards, reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace, and help reduce survivor stress.

You can also take the Introduction to CERT training. This independent study web-based training is interactive and will introduce you to CERT skills before you take the classroom training.

Teen CERT Resources

Use the resources below to begin planning your training.

Teen CERT: Launching and Maintaining a Training

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Teen CERT Annex to Standard CERT Train the Trainer Course

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Campus CERT Resources

CERT is on campus, too! Each CERT program may organize, manage, and coordinate one or multiple teams of volunteers within the area that it serves. Find out how to start a CERT on campus with the resources below.

Campus CERT Starter Guide

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CERT Train-the-Trainer Campus CERT Annex Instructor Guide

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CERT in Action

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members from California and Florida, as well as a Teen CERT from Texas, explain how they come together to prepare their communities and assist their neighbors during emergencies.

Last Updated: 12/14/2022

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