Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

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Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (Arlington CERT) is a trained volunteer group that works with the Arlington County government and first responders in building a more prepared and resilient community through the following preparedness, response, and recovery activities. 

Preparedness Activities

  • Enhance community preparedness through community outreach and education, such as teaching Until Help Arrives classes to the community
  • Prepare homes and neighborhoods for disasters
  • Participate and support local/regional disaster exercises and drills
  • Support major events requiring public safety and emergency management coordination, like the Marine Corps Marathon and July 4th celebrations

Response & Recovery Activities

  • Established HAM radio communications during Emergency Communications Center outage during Derecho storm (2012)
  • Provided ice to residents during summer power outages (2019)
  • Managed traffic at COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites (2020-2022)
  • Cleared snow off fire hydrants (2022)
  • Set up food and water stations for first responders (2023)

We are always looking for new volunteers, and we welcome anyone who lives, works, studies, worships, and plans to volunteer extensively in Arlington County, Virginia. When you apply to join us, you will be trained and prepared to help protect yourself, your family, and your community. We are looking forward to meeting you, seeing you do well in training, and having you join the Arlington CERT.


  • You must live, work, go to school, go to church, or plan to volunteer extensively in Arlington County.
  • You must be 14 or older. Teenagers between the ages 14 and 17 may attend if accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or an adult designated in writing as the responsible party. 
  • You must be able to pass a national and state sex offender check.


Become a CERT - Apply for Our Next Training

To join Arlington CERT, you must meet the prerequisites, fill out an application, and complete CERT Basic Training (CBT). Read more below for details.

If you have any questions, reach out us by filling out this form.

About CERT Basic Training

CBT is a free, in-person, 8-class training course held over 6 weeks which takes about 30 hours to complete. CBT is held twice a year in the spring and fall, and classes typically are held on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. A schedule of upcoming courses can be found on the right-hand side of this page.

Classes are taught by local emergency response/management personnel and volunteers 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 eighth and final class includes a practical exam comprised of disaster simulations to give trainees the ability to apply their newly acquired skills in a semi-realistic environment.

CERT Basic Training normally requires some lifting, carrying, and working on the floor or ground. However, CERT is about using each person's abilities. Let us know in your application if you have differing abilities. Differing abilities are absolutely not disqualifying for CERT training.

We recognize that it can be difficult for most Arlingtonians to be able to attend all eight classes in a single course. We recommend attending when you can, and then doing makeups either with the next seasonal class, or when we offer occasional makeups.

Attending CBT is free. However, there are some supplies and tools which are necessary both for training and to ensure you are equipped and ready for an activation. CERT purchases these supplies in bulk and makes them available, at cost, to trainees. The total cost of the necessary supplies is typically $40 to $70. If that cost is a concern to you, it does not disqualify you from training. Please just let us know in person at class, and we will make alternate arrangements.

Fill Out Application

We have reached class capacity for our Spring 2024 CERT Basic Training, so we are not accepting applications at this time. 

Sign up here to be notified when we are ready to accept applications for future classes.

When you submit your application, our Volunteer Registrar will review your application and perform state and national sex offender checks. We can only accept applications with successful sex offender checks.

We accept applications that meet the above prerequisites on a first come first served basis. If we meet class capacity, we will put you on our waiting list in case someone drops out of the class before the second class. If no one drops out, we can save a spot for you for the next CBT.

Our 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 to the public.