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What is Oceanside CERT?

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment’s notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate lifesaving and life sustaining needs.

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

In 2005, the Oceanside Fire Department started the community’s CERT program. The program was initially funded by a County grant and supported with a small budget from the Fire Department. After much planning and work, the 1st class was delivered in the Fall of 2005 and it graduated about 25 citizens.

Since then, the program has grown to support a volunteer organization called Oceanside CERT which now has an elected board of directors to oversee and manage the group. Oceanside CERT is a 501.c3 non-profit organization. The Fire Department serves as the program advisor to the group and as the sponsoring representative to the San Diego County CERT Council.

The program now has over 700 trained community members and City employees. Nearly 100 of these dedicated volunteers are active members that continue to attend quarterly training sessions and participate in various community fairs and PR opportunities. Additionally, Oceanside CERT conducted the first Spanish Academy in San Diego County and recently began a High School Teen CERT program.

The Community of Oceanside has a population of about 180,000 and is approximately 42 square miles in size.

Oceanside CERT is authorized by the Oceanside Fire Department, the San Diego County Unified Disaster Council, and the San Diego County CERT Council.

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