What is CERT?

The CERT training program was developed following the Mexico City earthquake in 1985. During that earthquake, firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department noticed that first responder resources were not available due to the overwhelming amount of devastation. This resulted in area residents stepping in to help the victims. Unfortunately, these would be rescuers lacked training which resulted in additional injuries and fatalities.

Upon their return to the United States, they started the first CERT program and the first official CERT class graduated in 1986. In 1987, the Whittier earthquake struck the Los Angeles area and the newly formed CERT teams proved invaluable. This cemented the CERT concept of trained neighbors safely helping neighbors. In 1993 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adopted the CERT program and developed a nation-wide training template.

Community Emergency Response Team Training

The Lake Oswego Fire Department conducts periodic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training; usually twice per year. The CERT program began in 1996 to educate Lake Oswego residents and employees of Lake Oswego businesses about disaster preparedness and provide response skills for the hazards they may experience during a natural disaster. Participants receive 25 hours of training; typically scheduled for a 3-hour weeknight class, once a week for 7 weeks along with a Saturday morning final exercise.

The CERT program will train community members in basic skills to be able to assist their own family and immediate neighborhood in case of a natural disaster. Lake Oswego Fire Department follows the FEMA training materials with some adjustments to include specific hazards related to the local region. Participants will be introduced to the following topics.

  • Unit 1: Disaster Preparedness
  • Unit 2: Fire Safety and Utility Controls
  • Unit 3: Disaster Medical Operations – Part 1
  • Unit 4: Disaster Medical Operations – Part 2
  • Unit 5: Light Search and Rescue Operations
  • Unit 6: CERT Organization
  • Unit 7: Disaster Psychology
  • Unit 8: Terrorism and CERT

Sign Up for CERT Program Training

Lake Oswego Fire Department has chosen to use an online software program, administered by the vendor Better Impact to streamline our CERT sign up process.

To sign up:

  1. Please visit the following link to get to the website to signup. 
  2. If you do not have a user account with Better Impact, follow the process on the lower left side under the “I am new to MyImpactPage.com” heading.   If you have created an account with Better Impact either before, enter your Username and Password on the lower right under the “I already have a username” heading.
  3. Follow the application prompts being sure to provide at least the required fields.
  4. When prompted at the screen “Application Complete,” please choose the first option titled Opportunities.
  5. Under the heading “CERT Program: Full Course Training,” click on the option titled “Sign Up & Wait List for Full Course,” and then choose the option button labeled “+ Sign Up”

New users will receive an automated message welcoming them to the system. Only when a CERT training program is offered, will further instructions or notification be provided via email.

CERT refresher training is offered periodically throughout the year. If you have completed the CERT training program and are registered in our online database, you will receive notifications of upcoming training classes. If you are not registered in our system but have completed the CERT training program through Lake Oswego Fire Department before, please create your online account following the steps above. During the registration process, you’ll be able to provide information on when you completed your training.

Sign up for Additional Training or a Volunteer Opportunity

Notifications will be sent out via email to registered accounts in the Better Impact online system whenever an opportunity is created. This could be a refresher class, a new emergency preparedness class or a volunteer opportunity. The opportunities offered will be based upon a user profile in the system. Someone who hasn’t completed the CERT program will not be able to see some of the CERT refresher classes. However, some general emergency preparedness classes may be open for anyone to attend regardless of whether they have completed the CERT training. This is controlled through the online system when classes are added.

To sign up for a class or activity:

  1. Login to our “CERT/Volunteer Portal
  2. Hover mouse over tab labeled “OPPORTUNITIES”
  3. Select either the Opportunity Calendar or Opportunity List
    • Click on the class, session or activity you wish to participate in
    • Click on the option “+ Sign Up”

You may also watch this short 3-minute video that explains the process.

If you have any further questions, call the Lake Oswego Fire Department at 503-635-0275 or email fmo@ci.oswego.or.us.

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