NYCEM Relaunches In-Person Classes For CERT Training Cycle From Harlem To Hollis

July 14, 2021

In-person training is back for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers. Thirty-one volunteers from across the city are participating in CERT’s hybrid basic training program.

The basic training program equips volunteers with the necessary skills to support their communities during an emergency and consists of seven virtual and three in-person sessions.

The New York City Emergency Management Department kicked off the five-week training cycle on June 14.

“This past year has only underscored the importance of a trained volunteer force motivated to step up in the City’s time of need. During the pandemic CERT volunteers provided much-needed assistance to their communities, including playing a crucial role in the City’s food distribution program,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “Though CERT volunteers continued to train virtually during the pandemic, the importance of in-person training can’t be overstated. NYC Emergency Management is excited to welcome our future CERT members back to the field.”

The CERT basic training cycle includes 10-sessions in disaster preparedness and emergency response and provides volunteers with lessons in basic fire safety, search and rescue, traffic management, and first aid and triage.

New York City Emergency Management is hosting the training program along with instructors from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Auxiliary Unit.

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“The hybrid structure has provided an opportunity for residents throughout the city to participate in the CERT basic training program both virtually and in-person, said Joseph Pupello, director of Volunteer Programs at NYC Emergency Management. The hands-on experience volunteers gain from the program will help them support their family, friends, and community before, during, and after an emergency.”

The three in-person classes include disaster and medical operations, light search and rescue, and disaster simulation.

During the disaster simulation, participants, under the guidance of their instructors, will test CERT training by extinguishing live fires, executing basic triage assignments, and removing trapped victims.

During the exercise, CERT trainees will encounter actors with simulated injuries and interact with active duty FDNY and NYPD personnel.

Upon completion of the program, graduating students will join local CERTs serving their neighborhoods.

“The Community Emergency Response Team program is such an important program run by NYC Emergency Management, and we at the FDNY are proud to be part of it. The impact these volunteers make is truly impressive, and this training means the communities we serve are that much stronger, and our city is that much more prepared. We join Emergency Management in welcoming these volunteers back to in-person training,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Since its launch, NYC CERT has responded to a host of emergencies, and local teams quickly adapt to the City’s specific emergency needs.

CERT members also work year-round to ensure their communities are prepared for emergencies, providing information and resources to assist residents with creating an emergency plan for their friends and family.

NYC Emergency Management hosts Community Emergency Response Team training cycles three times a year. The next training cycle will also be a hybrid model and is scheduled to begin in Fall 2021.

For more information about the CERT program, or if you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, call 311 or visit

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) in New York City

The New York City CERT program started in 2003 with 106 volunteers. Today, there are more than 1,200 credentialed CERT volunteers throughout the five boroughs.

NYC CERT volunteers participate in a 10-session basic training program where they receive instruction from active members of the FDNY, NYPD and NYC Emergency Management.

Volunteers are trained in disaster preparedness and basic emergency response skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations, and traffic management.

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