Satellite view of a hurricane.

What is Columbia County CERT?

- The Columbia County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a non-profit volunteer organization, whose primary mission is to augment the four phases of emergency management (preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery) during times of crisis or disaster. Columbia County CERT serves the City of Lake City, Town of Fort White and the unincorporated areas of Columbia County.

Why do we need CERT?

- Our local government agencies prepare for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your community in an emergency situation.

How does CERT help during times of crisis or disaster?

- CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.
- In the CERT training, citizens learn to:
manage utilities and put out small fires,
treat the three medical killers by opening airways,
controlling bleeding, and treating for shock,
provide basic medical aid,
search for and rescue victims safely,
organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

I don’t have any experience with emergencies or disasters. Can I still help?

-Absolutely! No matter what your background, skills or abilities, your willingness to help is invaluable. Remember, all CERT members complete a basic training course, which covers Preparedness, Fire Suppression, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization. Additionally, CERT members can potentially fill a variety of roles beyond disaster scene (Red Zone) operations, such as: Administration, Resource Management, Communications, Shelter Management, Transportation, Recruiting, Training and more.
How do I become a member?
-Individuals interested in joining CERT can download an application or can contact their county CERT Program Coordinator via the following email addresses:
We should include the following links on our page…

Download CERT Application to Volunteer When Our Community Needs Help.