Local, State, and Federal Agency Partners​

What is AAACERT?

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 Management, 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, scalable framework for local, state, tribal, territorial, or federal authorities to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

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.

Birth of CERT

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. CERT has expanded to include Teen CERT, Campus CERT, and Workplace CERT. Each focusing on the specific needs of their location and people.

Federal Support

In 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made CERT training available nationwide. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories. Each is unique to its community and all are essential to building a Culture of Preparedness in the United States. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide and more than 600,000 people have trained since CERT became a national program.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Comprehensive preparedness requires the whole community to participate and FEMA places tremendous value on communities that embrace a local "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" approach. Neighbors Helping Neighbors empowers community leaders to involve and educate individuals from their community about simple steps one can take to become more prepared. Forty-six percent of individuals expect to rely a great deal on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after a disaster.


As a teen, there are probably a lot of things you’re told you can’t do. But there is one very important thing you can do: Learn to protect yourself, your family, and your friends in case of disaster. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is a national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response. Volunteers come from all ages and all walks of life, including teenagers like you! Through Teen CERT, you can serve your community and help take care of your school and home.

Workplace CERT

A Workplace CERT program can support and enhance existing capabilities, and CERT volunteers can participate in efforts to increase the preparedness and resilience of the workplace and community. Workplace CERT programs are designed to operate in any type of workplace environment. You can use the Workplace CERT Starter Guide as you plan and build a CERT in your workplace.

Campus CERT

A college or university campus often functions as a “city within a city,” and often has its own emergency management capabilities. A Campus CERT program can support and enhance existing capabilities, and CERT volunteers can participate in efforts to increase the preparedness and resilience of the on-campus community.​