Community Emergency Response Team

Community Emergency Response TeamCommunity Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. They recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. The LAFD decided that some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of citizens to survive until first responders or other assistance could arrive.

The training program that the LAFD initiated proved to be so beneficial that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) felt that the concept and the program should be available to communities nationwide. In 1994, the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) expanded the CERT materials to make them applicable to all hazards.

Additional CERT Information

CERT Application

Cowley County CERT is divided into three levels. Those levels are discussed in detail on the first night of every new training class. If interested in becoming a CERT member, please call the Emergency Management office at (620) 221-0470.

Volunteer Downloads

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can join CERT? Anyone with a desire to become better prepared to help our community in emergency and non-emergency situations.


  • Do I have to be 18 to join? Yes. CERT is divided into three levels. Level 1: participants attend the class, but do not make a commitment to the program (anyone under the age of 18 can take the course if accompanied by an adult/guardian); Level 2: participants make a commitment to the program by putting in 10 hours per calendar year (must be 18 to join); Level 3: participants make a commitment to the program by putting in 20 hours per calendar year (must be 18 to join).


  • How long is the training?The training takes a total of 24 hours. Most of the training is classroom learning, and the balance is hands-on experience.


  • Why should I join? It will help you prepare yourself, family, friends and co-workers to be ready in time of a large or small disaster. During times of disaster, emergency crews are overwhelmed. CERT provides trainees with the ability to make decisions, plus the organizational and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to victims while waiting for help–whether they are family members, neighbors, associates, or strangers.


  • What if I am concerned about my age or physical abilities? There are many jobs available in the CERT program. There will be a job for almost everyone.


  • How much does the training cost? The class is free.


  • Do I have to supply any items to be a CERT member?
    Yes and No. If you become an active CERT member, you will be provided with basic response equipment (backpack, multi-tool, hardhat, and vest). However, you may want to provide yourself with comfortable gloves, eye protection, foot protection, etc.


  • Is there a commitment after I take the class? Only if you want to be committed. If you only wish to take the class to learn more about personal safety and preparedness, then that is all you have to do. If you choose to become actively involved in the community, then you may.