The Community Emergency Response Team is a group of volunteers from Bedford that will give critical support to first responders in major emergencies. They offer immediate care for victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site and collect information to support first responder efforts. The CERT program creates a partnership between first responders and the community in training citizens to help themselves, their family and their neighbors in an emergency.
CERT members are trained to respond, along with EMS, to large-scale emergencies. First, they care for their family and neighbors and then report to a strategic location to offer their assistance to the community. CERT volunteers learn essential skills, including disaster preparedness, fire suppression, basic medical operations and search and rescue.
Local government prepares for everyday emergencies, but a large-scale disaster will overwhelm the community's immediate response capability causing significant delays getting to those who need help. During a major crisis, such as an earthquake, large-scale fire, or man-made disaster, assistance from trained volunteers is crucial. Those who complete the program are also registered as state disaster workers and are covered by state workers' compensation in event of an accident.