AAACERT Vice President Bruce Morgenstern

What is AAACERT?

Anne Arundel – Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers how to prepare for hazards and cope with emergencies. AAACERT courses and drills cover basic disaster prevention, preparation, and response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, communications, and emergency medical procedures.

AAACERT volunteers are trained to assist their families, neighbors, and colleagues when disaster strikes and professional responders are not immediately available to help. In addition, AAACERT volunteers support the first responders who keep our communities safe. For example, when activated under the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), or the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Managment, AAACERT supports emergency response agencies.

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

History of Community Emergency Response Teams

The Los Angeles City Fire Department developed the CERT concept in 1985. The 1987 earthquake in Whittier Narrows, California, underscored 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.

In 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made CERT training available nationwide. Since then, communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training. FEMA supports CERT by conducting or sponsoring Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager courses for members of the fire fighting, medical, and emergency management communities.

CERT volunteers receive the training needed to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, and also to support their communities during non-emergency events, such as parades. There are more than 2,700 CERT programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since CERT became a national program.

CAPTION: AAACERT Vice President Bruce Morgenstern being “treated” for a shrapnel wound at Anne Arundel Medical Center as part of the USNA Active Assailant and Mass Casualty Incident exercise on February 6, 2019. Seven other AAACERT volunteers joined Bruce in the exercise.