Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

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About CERT

The Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is a neighborhood-based team of volunteers who assist professional responders in recognizing, responding to, and recovering from major emergencies or disasters. Trained, local volunteers are uniquely positioned to support County response efforts because they know the community and have specialized skills which allow them to respond to all hazards.

Arlington County CERTs receive nationwide training and are activated, as needed, by authorized Arlington County agencies. CERTs can be activated for major events requiring public safety and emergency management coordination, like the Marine Corps Marathon and July 4 celebrations.

Learn more and find info on the CERT Basic Training program below. Download and print our promotional flyer(PDF, 2MB) .

CERT Basic Training

Training is required for all new CERT volunteers. Basic Training (new volunteer training) is FREE, offered twice a year, and open to anyone age 14+ who lives, works, attends school, or volunteers in Arlington County. Minors (ages 14-17) must have a parent present during trainings to be able to attend.

Basic Training consists of eight, 2.5-hour classes held over six weeks. Classes are taught by local emergency response/management personnel and include lecture, discussion, and hands-on learning. 

Areas of training include:

  • Disaster Threats in Arlington County
  • Personal and Family Preparation and Safety
  • Recognizing and Treating Life-Threatening and Non-Life-Threatening Emergencies
  • Triage and Treatment Area Management
  • Incident Command System
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Fire Safety Techniques
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations

The final session includes a practical exam comprised of disaster simulations to give trainees the ability to apply their newly acquired skills in a semi-realistic environment.

Sign up for CERT Basic Training today!

Volunteer Expectations

Volunteers are expected to know the geography of their neighborhood, quickly transport themselves to emergencies when activated, and support first responders onsite. Volunteers will also be asked to purchase a list of supplies, and a supply list will be provided during Basic Training.

Additional CERT responsibilities may include:

  • Preparing individuals and organizations for a disaster by educating them on emergency preparedness
  • Helping neighbors and the community in the event of a disaster, after assuring self and family safety 
  • Seeking out opportunities to enhance emergency preparedness and disaster skills
  • Participating in community events, drills, and training
  • Attending periodic team meetings to organize and maintain activities
  • Taking on a leadership role
  • Assessing the situation and properly advising emergency responders when they arrive
  • Assisting others with the emotional distress associated with major emergencies and disaster conditions
  • Administering first aid and/or triage casualties
  • Performing needs assessments, documenting, and communicating needs to local authorities
  • Supporting effective and efficient allocation of emergency resources


Learn why current CERTs love to volunteer.

Community Impact

Since 2002, CERT volunteers have saved lives, reduced injuries, and helped build community resilience, making them essential to Arlington County's emergency management apparatus. More than 1,000 Arlington community members have gone through CERT Basic Training, and CERT volunteers spent over 5,000 hours assisting neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic! 

When not actively supporting first responders during emergencies, CERT volunteers continue to make an impact in the community by promoting emergency preparedness at neighborhood events and delivering the Until Help Arrives Course.


Become a CERT volunteer & start making an impact in your community.