Starting a CERT Program

Step 1: Assessing Needs

Questions to Get You Started

Take a few minutes to review the questions below. Answering these questions will help you determine your community's strengths and challenges and your strategy for implementing the CERT program.

Category Questions
Baseline of Community Awareness
  • How would you assess the community's awareness of risk?
  • Have there been community-based public safety efforts?
  • Have some homeowners and businesses implemented preparedness measures?
Industry and Business
  • What businesses have a history of actively preparing for emergencies?
  • What businesses are required by law to maintain response plans?
  • What are the most influential employers in your community?
  • Which businesses have a corporate culture that encourages volunteerism?
  • What are the prominent business organizations or associations in your community?
  • Which of the television, radio, or print media in your community are more community-service oriented?
  • Are there journalists or reporters who have prepared stories on natural hazards, emergency preparedness, or emergency response exercises?
  • Which local media outlets have the greatest potential to be effective partners?
  • Can you encourage the favorite local weather forecaster to be an active participant?
Health Care Providers
  • Which health care providers are most active in promoting public safety?
  • Can you encourage medical professionals to participate actively to promote preparedness?
Community Leaders
  • Which community leaders might champion this initiative?
  • Which community organizations are typically active in community initiatives or events?
  • Can you get explicit support from local public officials?
Educational Institutions
  • Have any educational institutions participated in any type of natural hazard preparedness or response activities?
  • Are there any existing initiatives at area colleges and universities that would make a natural partner with CERT (e.g., programs in emergency planning or public education)?
  • Does the local school district require its students to perform community service?