Following a major disaster, such as an earthquake, severe weather or terrorist attack, the first responders are usually untrained citizens. Depending on the scope of the disaster, professional responders may not be able to make it to the scene for hours, days or even longer. In times like these, people naturally pull together and try to help one another. Unfortunately, many untrained rescuers end up losing their own lives trying to help others. With basic training, injury and loss of life can be significantly reduced, more people can be rescued, and the aid rendered can be more effective.
A citizen training program emerged from the California earthquakes of the 1980’s and have since gone international. Citizen Emergency Teams in the United States have several different names, but all are essentially the same program. Most commonly they are called CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), but are also know as NET (Neighborhood Emergency Team), and NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team). Here in Portland, we call it NET, but in most of the Portland’s surrounding communities, and at the national level, they are known as CERT.
Additional information may be found on the Pacific NW Earthquake Resource Page.