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Community Emergency Response Training (CERT)

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Police Department

Chief of Police:  David M. Livingstone

Location: 3901 Alamo Street Simi Valley, CA 93063 (805) 583-6950

When disaster strikes, be prepared to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people!

CERT ExtinguisherThe City is accepting applications for our next CERT academy. Training is limited to 35 people and will be held on six consecutive weeknights from 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., with a final exercise on a Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

CERT Classes are held at Simi Valley Police Department at 3901 Alamo Street (map). A disaster exercise is held on Saturday during the final week of the academy at the Ventura County Fire Department Regional Training Center in Camarillo (Directions and Map).

Simi Valley’s CERT Academy fills very quickly! Review the CERT calendar and enroll in the next academy online or you can print a CERT Application, complete it, mail it, or deliver in person.

What is CERT?

CERT is a component of the Citizen Corps, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program geared towards harnessing the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.  Click here to view  a 30-second CERT in Action video from FEMA, depicting CERT groups from across the country showing how this training has impacted their communities. The video features community members in California, Florida, and Texas who come together to prepare and assist their neighbors for emergencies. This video provides a useful introduction to the value of CERT and explains some of the key concepts of the program. This video also demonstrates the diverse uses and structures of CERT programs across America.

Why was the CERT Program developed?

The CERT training program was adopted by FEMA and modeled after a 1985 citizen program developed by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department. The purpose of the CERT program is to create a well-trained citizen emergency work force, which is vital in the immediate aftermath of disaster situations when the number and scope of incidents overwhelm conventional emergency services.

The City of Simi Valley is proud to have offered the CERT Academy for 20 years. Over 1,400 residents have completed this curriculum since the City began offering the training shortly after the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

CERT educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact them and provides hands on training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT teaches individuals to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT trained individuals are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness activities in their community. The CERT Academy curriculum consists of approximately 24-hours of hands-on training from Ventura County Fire Department Firefighters.

CERT students will receive a CERT start-up kit (helmet, vest, goggles, gloves, light, and whistle) and a certificate upon successful completion of the entire course.

What Will I Learn?

Using the basic information taught in the CERT Academy, students will learn how to prepare for emergencies and be ready to respond to assist their family, neighbors or co-workers immediately following all types of emergencies.  The basic CERT curriculum consists of the following instructional modules:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety and how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • CERT team structure and its function in local emergencies
  • Disaster Medical Operations, including basic triage
  • Terrorism awareness
  • Disaster psychology and the effects of disaster fatigue

The academy is presented in both a lecture and hands-on format using videos, Power point slides, rescue and medical supplies, and a "live fire" training system during the Fire Safety module.

What Will I Need?

Time!  The CERT Academy is presented in six weekly 3-hour sessions and one 8-hour session on the final class date for a total of seven sessions.  Attendance at all seven sessions is required for graduation privileges and receipt of your certificate of completion.

Materials!  Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes (no open toes) and bring a sack lunch to the Saturday session.  All other supplies will be provided.  Most importantly...bring a good attitude, enthusiasm and willingness to learn and help others! 

Who can attend the CERT Academy?

CERT CoupleAnyone 18-years of age or older, who lives or works in Simi Valley, is eligible to attend.   The CERT Academy is a perfect "fit" for people who are interested in serving our community by assisting their family and neighbors during emergencies or other disaster situations.

Do I have to be a Simi Valley resident to be accepted into the CERT Program?

Although preference goes to Simi Valley residents and employees from businesses located in the city, the Academy can accommodate others who live elsewhere in Ventura County, by utilizing a waitlist.  People on the waitlist will be notified about any last minute vacancies in the session currently open for enrollment.

How do I sign up for CERT?

Interested individuals can enroll in an upcoming CERT Academy in one of 3-ways:

  • Enroll Online
  • Print a CERT application, and submit it via: E-mail to; Fax  (805) 583-6201; or U.S. Mail to CERT Academy Coordinator, City of Simi Valley-Office of Emergency Services, 3901 Alamo Street, Simi Valley, CA 93063 
  • Pick up/drop off an application at the Simi Valley Police Department, 3901 Alamo Street, Simi Valley, CA 93063 (Monday - Friday from 8:00 A.M. – 6:30 P.M.)

Applicants are enrolled in CERT Academies on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive email notification once your application has been accepted. If you have additional questions, please telephone the CERT office at (805) 583-6116.

How often are CERT Academies held?

CERT Academies are held several times each year (CERT Calendar). If you are unable to attend all the classes during one particular session, you may be able to make-up the missed class(es) at a different city in Ventura County or attend a make-up class at a future Simi Valley CERT Academy date (NOTE: before contacting one of the other cities to make-up a class, determine which modules you will be missing first). You can also check the Ventura County Fire Department Calendar website or call (805) 583-6116 for additional class listings.

CERT training offered in neighboring cities: 

An online FEMA Independent Study course is also available. The "Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams" course (IS-317) is for those wanting to refresh their CERT knowledge or to receive an overview of the training online.  Go to: FEMA CERT Course to view this course online.

What Happens After I Complete the CERT Academy?

Once you've completed the CERT Academy, your effectiveness and level of contribution during an emergency or disaster depends on you.  We suggest that CERT graduates maintain and update their kits annually.  We also suggest that you participate in regular refresher training opportunities to keep your skills current.

Although there is no obligation, the CERT curriculum was originally designed to enlist community members as a volunteer resource to assist the City during a major emergency or disaster.  However, most people enroll in this academy simply to learn how to become better prepared and to help their family, not to become a first responder.

If you're interested in volunteering as a disaster responder, the City's Office of Emergency Services Volunteer Disaster Service Worker Team may be what you're looking for. 

If you're interested in learning about future training opportunities to keep your CERT skills fresh or participation in other Emergency Management exercises, drills, or annual community preparedness events, visit the CERT Refresher Training page to provide us with your contact information.

Disclaimer and Non-Discrimination Policy

The CERT Academy has a age requirement of 18 year or older (per the Federal Emergency Management Agency).  Course spots are reserved on a first come-first served basis only.  The City of Simi Valley CERT Academy only conducts non-discriminatory classes.  Non-discrimination includes race, religion, gender and group affiliations.  The City of Simi Valley does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services and activities.


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