6501 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD

CERT Interview with Coast Life

CERT Skills Day & Graduation Photos

What is CERT?


Ocean City’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers how to prepare for hazards and cope with emergencies. CERT volunteers are trained to assist their families, neighbors, and colleagues when disaster strikes and professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT courses and exercises cover basic disaster prevention, preparation, and response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, communications, and emergency medical procedures. Our members volunteer with Ocean City’s Department of Emergency Management in support of emergency response and public safety.

CERT volunteers are vetted, trained, and certified in compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which provides a flexible, scalable framework for local, state, tribal, territorial, or federal authorities to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

In addition to emergency response and public safety, CERT volunteers also support their local communities during non-emergencies, such as special events or other community gatherings.

History of CERT

The Los Angeles City Fire Department developed the CERT concept in 1985. The 1987 earthquake in Whittier Narrows, California, emphasized the area-wide threat of a major disaster and confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their own immediate needs and support first responders more effectively.

Federal Support

In 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made CERT training available nationwide. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories. Each is unique to its community and all are essential to building a Culture of Preparedness in the United States. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide and more than 600,000 people have trained since CERT became a national program.

Community Emergency Response Teams in Action