Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Following a major disaster such as an earthquake, flood, wildfire, or terrorist attack, first responders who provide fire and medical services may not be able to meet the demand for services. For many, this disruption of the emergency services that they have come to expect at a moment's notice by just dialing 911 will become a challenge. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life sustaining needs.
CERT Training

Program Overview


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, simple search and rescue, and basic first aid treatment. The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need to train civilians to meet their immediate needs. The CERT concept builds upon citizens understanding their responsibility to prepare themselves for disaster and increase their ability to safely help themselves, their family, and their neighbors.

The CERT in Poway was first organized in 2006 using a $5,000 grant from the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. Today, the CERT Program follows a curriculum developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is a partner of the Citizens Corps Program.

CERT Academy


The City of Poway, in partnership with Palomar College, offers a CERT academy annually.   

Class participants receive training in basic first aid, fire safety, simple search and rescue, terrorism, emergency preparedness, and disaster psychology. At the conclusion of the classroom training, students participate in a practical exercise designed to allow them to apply the skills they learned. Classes are taught by Poway firefighters supplemented with guest speakers. A certificate of completion in this noncredit Palomar College course is provided. Participants who complete this course, or an equivalent CERT course, are also  eligible to apply for membership in Poway's CERT.

Sign Up


If you are interested in signing up for the next academy, please fill out this enrollment form and return to Susy Turnbull:

  • By email at sturnbull@poway.org
  • By mail to the Poway Fire Department at:
    P. O. Box 789
    Poway, CA 92074-0789
  • In person to the Poway Fire Department Administrative Offices:
    13050 Community Road
    2nd floor
    Poway, CA 92064
If you have any questions, please contact Susy Turnbull at (858)
668-4474 or by email to Sturnbull@poway.org.

CERT Membership


Graduates of CERT training may wish to become a member of the Poway CERT and participate in refresher training, regional drills, and community outreach programs.

Poway CERT members assist with CERT Training and network with other volunteers to strengthen the idea that trained citizens can help save lives. Poway CERT organizes volunteers into groups of responders during a large incident or disaster. During an event, Poway CERT members may be called upon to perform a variety of response roles including supporting the city's Emergency Operations Center, staffing a care and shelter facility, performing community reconnaissance, or conducting damage assessment.

Members of Poway CERT must be at least 18 years old and reside in the City of Poway. For more information, please contact Susy Turnbull at 858-668-4474 by email to sturnbull@poway.org.

Additional Resources


For more information on Community Emergency Response Team programs, please visit:

Past Presentations


Current Poway CERT members should study the attached documents in case of a missed class or just for review: