Community Emergency Response Team
The PMKCA's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a team of volunteers from the PMKCA area who have been trained to provide temporary emergency assistance to community members in the event of a major disaster, such as a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, flood, or major fire. CERT members are trained to take control of emergency situations until paid professionals (police, fire department, civil defense, national guard) arrive on the scene.
Part of a community being prepared for an emergency is education. In that regard, the PMKCA CERT has developed a set of Standard Operating Guidelines (affectionately known as SOG) that provide a framework for the organization and actions of the PMKCA CERT. We encourage all community members to download and read this document. Please click the icon shown below to download this PDF document (1.1 Mb).
Hey what’s the deal with this thing called CERT? Have you ever wondered what CERT is all about? Are you curious when you hear in the news about a CERT Team taking action during an earthquake, flooding or other natural disaster? Well, if you don’t already know, CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and it’s a program, under joint federal and state jurisdiction, which provides residents and businesses of any defined geographical area with the basics of how to properly prepare for and respond to a natural or man-made disaster such as fire, flooding, earthquake. There are more than 20 CERTs on the Big Island, including 3 on the Hamakua Coast (Pa’auilo, Laupahoehoe and Hamakua) and others throughout the county.
Training through the CERT Program provides a learning platform in basic disaster response, fire safety, light rescue, team and responder coordination, and basic medical procedures. Individual members of a CERT go through a rigorous 27-hour training course which takes 4 consecutive Saturdays to complete. Using skills and knowledge learned in the classroom and reinforcing those skills with practical application through role playing and exercises, the CERT Program provides fundamental skills and understanding to be capable of responding to emergency incidents in a community, workplace, or at home. What all that means in practical terms is that each geographical area which has established a CERT trains its members to perform initial recovery procedures prior to the arrival of regular first responders (i.e. police, fire department, and ambulance/EMT which, in some cases, may be days or weeks).
If you’re interested in more information or would like to become involved in a CERT near your community, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense-cert .