Eligibility for Membership

Application for membership may be made by anyone who is at least 16 years old and has achieved a Certificate of Training for Basic CERT from an organization or trainer authorized to teach and certify individuals in Basic CERT or intends to achieve a Certificate of Training for Basic CERT within six months of membership application and is a U.S. citizen (born or naturalized) or a legal resident alien with a temporary or long-term (permanent) resident status in good standing.  Applicants and members age 18 or older must be able to pass an Anne Arundel County-approved background check.

Membership Application Process

Applicant must complete and submit to the AAACERT Membership Chair the following documents:

Upon receipt of the above materials, the AAACERT Membership Chair will add the applicant to the membership rolls (entering the information into AAACERT’s operational software, mailing list websites, and qualification matrix). The applicant will have an initial status of a non-operational member (see membership classes below).

Background Check Process

The AAACERT membership chair will submit the applicant’s name and e-mail address to the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management who will then initiate the background check process through Sterling Volunteers.  Sterling Volunteers will send a link to the applicant for the background check application.  The application is online, and the website is secure.  Applicants must submit their application within ten days of receipt of the link or they will be removed from the membership rolls and any fees will be returned. The County recognizes the value of volunteers and shares the cost with the applicant.  Applicant’s payment is made as part of the application process.  Upon completion of the requested background check, Sterling Volunteers will provide a report to the applicant and the Office of Emergency Management which will indicate whether or not the background check searches came back CLEAR.  AAACERT does not have access to applicant’s application nor the detailed results.  AAACERT simply receives an e-mail from OEM that you have completed the background check and are eligible for volunteer service to the County (or not) and the date of background check completion.  If adverse information is reported and the applicant believes it is incorrect, the applicant has rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to dispute the results with the consumer reporting agency.  Neither OEM nor AAACERT has any additional information.    If the applicant is found to be disqualified through a background check, he/she will be removed from the membership rolls and any fees paid will be reimbursed upon request.  The background check process must be completed every five years. AAACERT members will receive notice that their background check is expiring approximately 30 days in advance of the expiration and will receive a link allowing them to apply for a new one.  Members who do not apply for a new background check prior to their background check expiration date will be moved into a Retired status.

NOTE:  AAACERT accepts membership application for those between the ages of 16 and 18.  Background checks cannot be performed by Sterling Volunteers until the applicant reaches the age of 18, which is the minimum age required to volunteer for the County.  Until the applicant turns 18, applicant is welcome to be a member, participate in most training and some exercises but will be significantly limited in operational response.

Membership Fees

The AAACERT board of directors may choose to impose a new member fee and/or annual dues.

If imposed, new members must pay these fees within 30 days of application. At the discretion of the Membership Chair, the deadline may be extended for one 30-day period if there is timely communication via email or phone call to the membership chair from the applicant that payment is planned. Annual dues are not pro-rated for new members; however, they will not be charged if the application is received in December.

If imposed, existing member’s annual dues must be paid by January 31st each year. At the discretion of the Membership Chair, the deadline may be extended for one 30-day period if there is communication via email or phone call to the membership chair from the existing member that payment is planned.

If a member does not pay fees in the time allowed, the Membership Chair will move the member to a “retired” state (see membership classes below) until such time as fees are paid.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) Compliance

At the request of the Anne Arundel County and City of Annapolis Offices of Emergency Management, AAACERT is restricting operational status (see membership classes below) to those members who have successfully completed FEMA classes IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800 and provided their certifications to the Membership Chair.

Participation Requirements

AAACERT is looking for active membership. To remain operational, members must participate in 20 hours of activities in a given calendar year. Eligible activities include participation in monthly training or other AAACERT-sponsored training; successful completion of FEMA classes, participation in other emergency preparedness and response classes (subject to approval of the Membership Chair);, participation in AAACERT meetings; support for AAACERT committees; participation in AAACERT/County/City events, trainings, exercises, or actual emergency incidents; or participation as a volunteer victim or otherwise supporting AAACERT training activities, and other activities approved by the Membership Chair.

The 20-hour requirement is pro-rated for new members. Failure to meet the 20-hour requirement causes membership to revert to non-operational status. Exceptions can be made by the Membership Chair for members who are out of the area for an extended period of time, members who have or have had medical issues preventing participation, or other circumstances which the Membership Chair believes are reasonable. To regain operational status, the member must complete the requirements for the previous year. To retain operational status, the member must then complete the current year’s requirement.

Membership Classes (defined by status)

OPERATIONAL– An operational member may participate in any AAACERT activity, subject to additional training requirements (e.g., being a Call Taker requires specific Call Taker training). Operational members supporting officially sanctioned Anne Arundel County or Annapolis City activities must be at least 18 years old. General requirements are — General Release and Waiver of Liability for Volunteers on file, approved and current background check, completion of Basic CERT, successful completion of IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800 with certificates on file, payment of membership fees and/or annual dues as indicated under Membership Fees, and 20 hours of participation in AAACERT activities (or as adjusted by the Membership Chair). Operational members receive notification of all advertised activities. Operational members may vote and hold administrative and operational offices.

NON-OPERATIONAL– A non-operational member has not satisfied all of the requirements identified for operational members but is current with membership fees and/or annual dues. A non-operational member may only participate in training activities designated as non-operational, in administrative or promotional functions, or as volunteer victims. Non-operational members receive notification of applicable activities. Non-operational members can achieve or regain operational status by satisfying all of the requirements stated above for operational members. Non-operational members may not vote nor hold administrative or operational offices.

AFFILIATE – Affiliate members are State, County, and City representatives and representatives of surrounding CERT organizations who wish to remain informed of AAACERT activities. They receive notification of all advertised activities, but participation must be consistent with their role in the State, County, or City or, for other CERT organizations, consistent with how they are invited to participate.

RETIRED– Retired members have either requested to be retired, have not paid applicable fees, or dues or have not renewed their background check prior to its expiration. Information on retired members remains in our operational software and qualification matrix to allow for quick re-activation if desired and/or all other requirements are met. Retired members do not receive notification of any AAACERT activities nor may they participate in them. Retired members may be eligible for reinstatement as operational or nonoperational members upon the completion of any outstanding training requirements or participation requirements, renewal of their background check, and/or payment of any membership fees or dues, whichever are applicable.

Approved by the AAACERT Board of Directors: October 22, 2020.