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CERT Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is CERT?
A. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a federally funded, community-based program that provides training and on-going education to better prepare communities and individuals to respond to emergency situations. When an emergency or disaster happens, CERT members can give critical support to first-line responders and provide immediate assistance to their community within a coordinated, collaborative, and organized effort. CERT members can also help with non-emergency preparedness projects that help improve the overall safety and quality of living in their community.

CERT began in Los Angeles with the intention of better protecting residents living and working in the areas that are earthquake prone. Currently, the program has been launched in 28 states and is supported by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), EMI (Emergency Management Institute), and National Fire Academy (NFA), and New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO).

Q. What is the Nassau County CERT Program?
A. The Nassau County CERT program follows the same guidelines as the state and federal government, but takes into account the vulnerabilities the County faces as well as local participating communities. Nassau County is prone to flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes among other natural and man-made incidents. Each community may have its own localized emergencies and disasters. The CERT program is meant to help address how to plan for and respond to those emergencies and disasters. In addition, CERT is a way for communities to build resilience, foster affiliated volunteerism, assist neighbors and other communities, and strengthen communities.

Nassau County CERT currently has over 1,300 members.

Q. What does CERT training entail?
CERT training is a basic, six week training that includes the following units:

1. Intro to ICS & CERT Organization
2. Fire Suppression & Radio
3. Disaster Medical Operations I & II
4. Light Search & Rescue
5. Sheltering Introduction
6. Terrorism, Disaster Psychology

In addition to these topics, other courses will be offered after each CERT member has successfully completed the basic training and have become a part of a local team.

Q. What is the Citizen Corp Council and does Nassau County have one?
A. Citizen Corps is a federally funded initiative that is currently being implemented in almost all states throughout the country. The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds. The Citizen Corps mission will be accomplished through a national network of state, local, and tribal Citizen Corps Councils. These Councils will build on community strengths to implement the Citizen Corps programs and will carry out a local strategy to have every American participate.

In Nassau County, the Citizen Corp Council (CCC) forms partnerships with government, voluntary, and corporate entities to assist in the development of various volunteer initiatives including Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), and the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LI VOAD). Current CCC member agencies include:

• American Red Cross, Nassau County Chapter
• Catholic Charities
• Fire Commission representation
• Health and Welfare Council of Long Island
• Long Island Volunteer Center
• Lutheran Disaster Response of New York
• Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
• Nassau County Department of Health
• Nassau County Office of Emergency Management
• Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs
• Salvation Army, Nassau County Chapter
• Village of Freeport
• Village of Bayville

Q: Who can get involved in CERT?
A. CERT training is free for Nassau County Residents who are 18 years of age or older. A background check will be conducted in order for you to participate in CERT.

Q: How can I get involved with the Nassau County CERT program?
A. If you are interested or would like more information about CERT in your local community,
please email OEMCERT@nassaucountyny.gov. Please enter “CERT INQUIRY” in the subject line and include your first name, last name, address, village, zip code, phone number, email and a brief comment. We will enter you into our database and contact you with more information.

Q: What if I have concerns about my age or physical ability?

A:  There are many jobs within CERT for someone who wants to be involved and help. Following a disaster, CERT members are needed for documentation, comforting others, logistics, etc. Non-disaster related team activities include keeping databases, website development, newsletter, planning activities, community outreach, and preparedness education.