Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
With a population approaching 170,000 and growth in Cape Coral expected to continually increase, the Fire Department recognized the need for educating our citizens in disaster preparedness and response training through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
The City covers over 120 square miles of pre-platted land, with approximately 30 percent developed, primarily in the coastal areas that are highly vulnerable to flooding and storm surge. A disaster, such as a tornado, tropical storm or hurricane striking the Cape, could severely impact our Fire/Rescue response and services. Realizing that we would not be able to reach all affected individuals immediately, residents must be prepared, trained and able to take care of themselves, their family and hopefully, assist their immediate neighbors.
The Cape Coral program officially got off the ground in 1997, graduating two classes with a total of 44 students. Both classes were well received and enthusiastically attended. Many classes have been held since then, with over 500 graduates in the program.Members of Cape Coral Fire Rescue serve as instructors, and have been trained by State and Federal Emergency Management staff.
The program is free for Cape Coral residents. Class materials are provided free of charge. The class includes lecture, visuals and hands-on training, and is conducted over an eight-week period, one night per week, with an options CPR class in the ninth week, after the CERT class is completed.
Cape Coral is the first city in Southwest Florida to institute such a program and was awarded a grant in 1998 from the Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund, managed by the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs. This award enabled the department to promote and expand the program with public service announcements, brochures and flyers.
If you want to become more informed and better prepared to cope with a major disaster, are willing to help yourself and, in turn, help your neighbors when immediate emergency services are not readily available, join your fellow neighbors and citizens in a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class.
Cape Coral Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management Services offers the following subjects in an eight-week course, taught in the evenings at the Cape Coral Emergency Operations Center. Classes are scheduled based on the level of interest. Subjects covered are Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Fire Suppression, Disaster Medical (triage, head-to-toe patient assessment, treatment for burns, lacerations, fractures, sprains and other injuries), Light Search & Rescue, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization, Terrorism, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
This class is endorsed and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and endorsed by the State of Florida Emergency Management Division of the Department of Community Affairs, and Lee County Emergency Management. The City of Cape Coral Fire Department is the first in Southwest Florida to offer these classes to all interested residents.
If you are interested in a future class, please call the CERT Coordinator at 239-242-3901 for further information or to register. Become a proactive member of your community and be prepared for emergencies.