Frequently Asked Questions

If your safety is in immediate danger, CALL 9-1-1

What is CERT?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact them, their family, neighbors, and coworkers and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, disasters is built and enhanced.

What is the Chatham County CERT Mission?

The Chatham Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) delivers education and training for Chatham County residents on emergency and disaster preparedness, and when activated, supports, to the extent of their training, Chatham County emergency response under the direction of Chatham County Emergency Management officials and local incident commanders.

How do I become a CERT team member?

Anyone is welcome to attend the monthly CERT classes. To become a CERT team member, you need to do these things:

  • Complete a CERT basic class
  • Submit a CERT application form
  • Submit a passport-sized ‘selfie’ photo (for your CERT badge)
  • Purchase a CERT vest (the ‘Deluxe CERT vest fitted with pockets and reflective stripes’ from .

Are there different levels to CERT membership?

You only need be involved in CERT to the extent you want. We do, however, classify our CERT membership into three levels. This way we can quickly identify who already has the training for different tasks when we are called upon to help in any given situation.

CERT Associate Member

  • Lives or works within Chatham County, and
  • Completes CERT Basic Training Class (NC-317), and
  • Has approved CERT vest, and
  • Attends at least 2 Chatham CERT events, training classes, or meetings per year.

CERT Team Member (in addition to Associate Member requirements)

  • Has basic CERT deployment equipment, and
  • Passes a Chatham County CERT background check, and
  • Obtains First Aid / CPR / AED training, and
  • Completes FEMA training IS.100, IS.200, IS.700, and IS.800 training, and
  • Additional training as required for specific tasks, and
  • Attends at least 4 Chatham CERT events, training classes, or meetings per year.

CERT Emergency Responder (in addition to Team Member requirements)

  • At least three additional focused training classes, or
  • Advanced first aid training, advanced SAR, HAM radio, veterinary response, or related training/certification to support to first responders

Does CERT do anything outside of prepare for, and get called out to help with emergencies?

CERT chapters may be called upon to do many different things throughout the year. As a CERT member you would be given the opportunity (but not be obligated) to help out with many different types of activities, usually where a large number of people are expected to gather such as marathons, parades, festivals, and school events:

  • Event Communications
  • Traffic Control
  • Training and Outreach – we may be called upon to help train on any emergency or preparedness topic
  • Incident Preparation – we can help with preparing facilities or supplies for the county, churches, or schools

How do I find out about upcoming classes and locations?

Upcoming Chatham meetings are posted to our website , to our Facebook page at @ChathamCERT, and are sent out to our mailing list. To get on the mailing list, send an email to .

What is taught in CERT classes?

Each month it is something different. Check out some of our recent classes:

  • CERT Communications
  • Stop-the-Bleed (hemorrhage control)
  • Fire Safety / Cold Weather Prep / Winter Preparedness
  • HAM Radio
  • …and many more – check our Facebook page for more information!

Who can take CERT classes?

CERT classes are open to residents over the age of 18, and can also be provided to community organizations, churches, school staff, workplaces, and other groups.

How much do CERT classes cost?

The basic CERT class and CERT meetings are provided free of charge. In a very few specialized courses, there may be a minor charge for supplies.

How can I get information about Chatham emergencies?

Disaster response in Chatham County is coordinated by the Emergency Management Department . During a widespread emergency or potential emergency, Chatham County will provide information to the public through CodeRED emergency alerts, Twitter , email , and the County’s website . Residents are encouraged to sign up for the CodeRED county emergency notification system, follow official government Twitter and Facebook feeds, and monitor local news on television or radio. Chatham County also updates local information in the ReadyNC application for iPhones and Android phones that also provides current state-wide information. Emergency Management can be reached at 919-545-8163 if you have preparedness questions before an emergency.

What should I do to prepare for an emergency?

  1. First, BE PREPARED! You should always have a basic supply kit (for first aid and weather-related emergencies) ready. Have a plan for what you will do in an emergency. Stock and maintain a 72-hour emergency kit.
  2. Next, BE AWARE! Sign up for alerts and keep a weather radio tuned to the emergency channel (see the above question).
  3. Follow the instructions of the professional first responders and emergency management for specific directions on how to respond to emergencies.

What should be in my emergency supply kit?

Check out the list in our Chatham CERT handout .

How can I assist during a disaster?

Your primary thought should be ‘Don’t be a Victim’. Get training on disaster preparedness and basic first aid. Maintain a 72-hour emergency kit. Have alternate methods of communications with loved ones. Keep yourself safe, then look out for your household, and then your neighborhood. Once all of you are safe, then check the CERT website where we will list requests for volunteer assistance.

Where can I get more information about disaster preparedness?

Emergency Management Institute

Homeland Security Disaster Preparedness

North Carolina Emergency Management

Chatham County Emergency Management

Who can I contact with additional CERT questions?

Email us at