Application to Join CERT
CERT of the Villages is our local Community Emergency Response Team – over 200 members serving our neighbors right here in The Villages.
We’re one of over 2,800 CERT teams nationwide, each trained to be ready for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members
- Learn how to safely respond to man-made and natural hazards
- Help organize basic disaster response
- Promote preparedness within their communities
CERT of the Villages is part of The Villages Public Safety Department. Our all-volunteer team serves as a force-multiplier, providing organized and trained teams to respond to hurricanes, tornados, and other disasters.
In 2007 an EF3 tornado with 165 mph winds struck Sumter and Lake Counties, damaging over a thousand homes in The Villages. The next morning, 150 CERT personnel were mobilized by the Public Safety Department. An incident command post was setup and tasks assigned. Over the next week CERT members visited 1,400 homes checking on residents, providing recovery information, and treating injuries suffered in the cleanup.
In 2017, the flooding and power loss from Hurricane Irma raised the concerns of the Public Safety Department, particularly in the Historic Area. At their request, CERT mobilized ten teams to conduct house / resident checks on more than 350 homes on fifteen streets.
But CERT is more than just waiting for the next hurricane…
While CERT members train to be ready to respond to “gray skies,” we use “blue skies” opportunities to fine-tune our skills and serve our neighbors.
You’ve probably seen our first aid tent and roving teams at the major special events in our Town Squares. Our members are out at 15-20 events a year, as well as the ceremonies honoring our Veterans at Veterans Park.
We offer monthly CPR/AED classes to the public (and Honor Flight guardians) and can provide training to resident organizations in The Villages on subjects such as Are You Ready? – Preparing for Hurricanes and Other Disasters and Active Shooter – Surviving a Shooting Event.
Our Firefighter Rehab Team provides rest, rehydration, nutrition, and medical monitoring of The Villages firefighters during a working fire, and while in smoke tower training. We’ve assisted our firefighters at major house and industrial fires and at a multi-agency response to a construction trench collapse.
What’s expected of me?
Unlike some CERT teams, CERT of The Villages is an active, vital part of The Villages lifestyle. But there are obligations. To maintain your skills (and your membership), you’ll attend 10-12 hours of training and team meetings every year. You’ll also work with your teammates at at least two community service events a year. Occasional large-scale exercises help challenge the team to work as a team.
What skills do I need to join?
None – we train you in everything you need to know. Yes, some of our members bring medical or emergency response experience, or other technical skills which are certainly helpful to the team, but all that’s needed is a willingness to serve. We get you ready; we keep you ready.
The Basic Training course
Every new member completes our FEMA-developed six-week Basic Training Course. Here you’ll get hands-on training in First Aid, Light Search and Rescue, CPR/AED, Fire Safety and other skills needed to respond to a disaster – the course culminates in a realistic disaster exercise. We offer the Basic Course twice a year, on 12 consecutive Monday/Friday mornings, starting in February and October.
- How to keep a friend, neighbor or loved one alive until professional emergency personnel arrive
- How to provide a safe environment for yourself and others before disasters
- How to survive and cope during an overwhelming or catastrophic incident
- How to recognize potential hazards and reduce injury or damage to persons or property
- How to assume a leadership role with those who are not trained to deal with injuries or disasters
- How to identify and assist those who are traumatized from disasters or injuries.
At the course graduation you’ll be assigned to a CERT team corresponding to your Community Development District (CDD), headed by a Division Supervisor.
Once you have submitted an application you’ll be contacted by our Basic Class Coordinator with your class scheduling.
If you have questions regarding classes please contact CERT via the “Questions?” link on the the website header or footer.