CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a national program designed to train local citizens in community emergency preparedness. The course prepares participants to be self-sufficient and knowledgeable in the steps of emergency response.
CERT members provide immediate assistance to victims, coordinate spontaneous volunteers who have not had training and collect disaster information that will assist first responders with prioritization and allocation of resources when they arrive.
BayCERT is the combined Seabrook, La Porte and Webster teams working together to build a broader network for communication and community awareness. BayCERT has provided assistance with police dispatch, traffic control, aid distribution centers such as PODS during Hurricane Ike and shelter management during the Emerald Shores Apartments and La Maison Apartments fires. BayCERT works directly with the Seabrook, La Porte and Webster Offices of Emergency Management.
Monthly meetings cover a variety of related topics such as CPR training, traffic control, team organization and emergency animal control, with speakers from a variety of emergency response teams and professional programs.
BayCERT is a part of the Harris County Citizen Corps and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and is a strictly volunteer organization.
The program began in 1987 following the Los Angeles earthquakes when first responders were overwhelmed and neighbors were called upon to assist in emergency situations. The training covers first aid, fire suppression, search and rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism awareness and communication with local emergency service organizations. The program is a free, 24 hour course covered in 8 weekly classes.