I. OVERVIEW AND MISSION
The East Bridgewater (EB) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is part of the local and national Citizen Corps effort to incorporate and utilize volunteers in the community. Citizen Corps is endorsed by the President and the Department of Homeland Security. EB CERT members are trained in basic response techniques in order to assist local citizens and first responders in disaster or emergency situations.
The purpose of the East Bridgewater CERT Concept of Operations Plan and Standard Operating Guidelines is to:
- Outline the concept of operations organization.
- Specify procedures for CERT activation.
- Establish CERT training and equipment requirements.
- Define CERT team functions, capabilities, and limitations.
This helps to insure an organized and efficient response to a large-scale emergency or disaster occurring in East Bridgewater.
The mission of the CERT program is to rapidly respond as a team to assist local responders, communities, private agencies and/or state and federal agencies in a large-scale emergency or disaster.
CERT teams are designed to support first responders or Emergency Operations Center support functions.
CERT Mission Statement:
TO PROVIDE AREA RESIDENTS AND FIRST RESPONDERS A QUALITY RESOURCE FOR SAFETY EDUCATION, HAZARD MITIGATION, EMERGENCY RESPONSE ASSISTANCE, AND OTHER VOLUNTEER EFFORTS.
The goals of the CERT program are:
- To do the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.
- To maintain team readiness through ongoing training and meetings.
- To gain and maintain acknowledgement and respect from area first responders and residents.
- To maintain professionalism in all areas within the scope of the program.
- To focus great effort in maintaining the safety, in ordered importance, of ourselves, team members, and all other victims or rescuers.
The objectives of the CERT program are to establish and maintain teams of qualified and trained individuals who can execute the following:
- Augment the local emergency services and emergency management officials with trained individuals.
- Assist law enforcement functions including traffic direction and security.
- Assist in victim triage and rescue.
- Assist with sheltering, mass feeding and other support function staffing.
- Integrate operations with other CERT teams as directed by other first responders.
- Provide communications capability with individual team members and coordinate communications with other CERT teams.
E. BASIC MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY
- Appropriate Assignments. The basic intent in staffing the CERT program is the premise: “There is a job for everyone”. This premise takes into consideration that some of the volunteers may be young or old, physically fit or disabled, highly educated or poorly educated, and so forth. The key to success in staffing the CERT program is to assign jobs appropriate to the individual.
- Age. Inherent to CERT operations in a disaster environment are risks to the health and safety of CERT team members. Therefore, if accepted, CERT team members under the age of 18 must provide appropriate parental permission and supervision. These members will only be assigned jobs and/or tasks of minimal risk. Similarly, members with advanced age should be assigned tasks appropriate to their physical ability.
- Gender. There are no barriers to gender in this program.
- Ethnic Group or Race. There are no barriers to ethnic groups or race.
- Disability. Many Americans with disabilities are extremely valuable if assigned to positions or duties within the scope of their abilities. Although there may be some physical barriers which people with disabilities may not overcome, not all tasks, duties, or positions subject people to these barriers. Therefore, assignment within capability may add a valuable member to the team that otherwise would have been overlooked or excluded.
- Religion. There are no barriers to religion in this program.
F. REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Potential CERT Team members should:
- Available to the Town of East Bridgewater with residents receiving preference.
- Be able, either physically, mentally (or both physically and mentally) as required, execute any or all competencies taught during basic CERT training.
- Not be a convicted felon or have a history of criminal convictions that, in the opinion of the Town, would be against the best interest of the Town to appoint said person to CERT, whereas CERT members could likely be placed into situations where the occupancy by CERT members would occur in private dwellings of homes and citizens’ personal space. CORI checks will be performed on all members
- Be of a character that can be trusted under adverse conditions where victims of disaster could be at disadvantage. (CERT Team members must be trusted to treat victims and their property with highest respect and dignity.)
- Complete and return the Hold Harmless Agreement (Training).
- Complete and return the Informed Consent, Waiver and Release Agreement Form.
- Complete and return the CERT Application Form.
II. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS
The CERT teams are designed to provide assistance to first responders during a long-term incident. The teams are also capable of providing direct support to communities and/or private agencies within the scope of emergency management support functions.
The CERT teams operate under the sole direction of the East Bridgewater Director of Emergency Management, CERT Coordinator or their designee.
The CERT teams are based on a ten-member concept with a Team Leader and an Assistant Team Leader.
B. OPERATION RESPONSIBILITIES
The CERT program supports local incident commanders, local emergency responders and other support agencies within the emergency management system.
CERT teams are neither designed nor intended to serve as initial first responders on a scene but can provide additional resources as “second” responders if the event requires it.
The CERT program enables the Incident Commander to utilize CERT teams in non-critical functions allowing first responders to be utilized in critical areas.
In a large-scale situation where the first response system is overwhelmed and delayed, CERT team members will provide assistance in their homes, neighborhoods, and local communities until first responders arrive.
III. TEAM IDENTIFICATION
It is essential that CERT members maintain a professional level in both emergency and non-emergency activations. Team members are issued identification cards for both identification and accountability purposes. When performing CERT functions, members must display appropriate identification.
A. IDENTIFICATION CARDS
Identification cards will be worn on the outermost garment at all times. If the card is lost it will be the responsibility of the team member to replace it prior to the participation in another event. CERT members will not be allowed to participate in any activation functions of the program without a proper ID.
In emergency situations, members must wear the issued green CERT vest and hard hat. Members need to dress for the conditions and should always wear pants and work boots. During non-emergency situations, members need to wear either the issued CERT vest or other purchased clothing containing the CERT logo. It is the responsibility of the team member to maintain all garments in a presentable manner. Purchased CERT apparel will not be worn in any inappropriate locations, such as bars. When wearing CERT apparel, members must maintain a professional demeanor.
Clothing containing the CERT logo is not to be worn while off duty at any time.
IV. TEAM ORGANIZATION
A. TEAM ORGANIZATION AND POSITION DESCRIPTIONS
- Team Leader
Team Leaders are to be appointed by the DEM or his designee. Instead of directing team members’ work, team leaders facilitate team activities toward goal accomplishment. Team leaders are not ultimately responsible for their team’s performance, however, they help their teams plan, learn to solve problems, and work effectively with each other. A team leader should enjoy coaching, working with people, and bringing about improvement through hands-off guidance and leadership.
During large-scale emergencies, CERT teams become an integral part of the command and control structure upon arrival at a staging area. The command and control staff of the affected jurisdiction must understand the role and training level of CERT teams when deploying them as a resource. The Team Leader will be the central point of coordination for the teams and will receive information from responsible parties.
The Team Leader will be an individual who has demonstrated through training, knowledge and experience that he/she is capable of leading the team before and during the stressful environment of a large-scale emergency or disaster. This individual will have the capability to manage and seek advice from a diverse group of people and ensure the team has an integrated approach during a critical incident. The Team Leader must possess knowledge of team functions, operations, and safety.
- Assistant Team Leaders
Assistant Team Leaders provide necessary support for the Team Leader to manage and account for all team members. They follow the direction of the Team Leader and assume the roles he or she assigns to them. They assist Team Leaders in planning and coordination efforts. Assistant Leaders must be able to spontaneously step up to a Team Leader position in cases when the Team Leader is unavailable. This means the Assistant Team Leaders must be familiar with and fluent in all of the Team Leader’s responsibilities.
- Team Members
The CERT program is intended to provide a coordinated response for assisting first responders in large-scale emergency situations. Team members will maintain a level of training in order to effectively respond to a situation. Team members work under the direction of the Team Leader and/or Assistant Leaders. They help plan and carry out all team functions. Every team member is responsible for the actions of their team.
- Team Assignments
When activated for an emergency response, the team assignments will be as follows:
- Team Leader. (1)
- Assistant Team Leader. (1)
- Fire Suppression Team (2)
- Search and Rescue Team (2)
- Medical Triage Team (2)
- Treatment Team (2)
V. TEAM ACTIVATION
Upon authorization by EB OEM, CERT team(s) will be activated by the Select-Alert system, which utilizes pagers, telephones, and cell phones.
EB OEM will activate CERT if:
- Requested by a local response agency.
- Requested by a private response organization.
- The Office becomes aware of a situation that may warrant the assistance of a CERT team.
Different levels of team activation are available depending on the magnitude of the incident and the specific type of incident. EB OEM will keep all CERT members apprised of the notification of a team. The following levels are utilized:
An alert is intended only to inform CERT teams of the potential for or the occurrence of an event. An alert does not constitute a directive to begin any response.
A request for mobilization of a CERT team is intended to have team members report to a staging area with all of their equipment for possible deployment. When responding to the staging area, ALL traffic laws will be obeyed! EB OEM with the approval of the Incident Commander will initiate a response or cancellation of the mobilization.
The CERT team upon activation will report to the staging area for deployment. Individual response to an incident is prohibited unless authorized by EB OEM.
Deploying CERT members will bring all necessary equipment and personal necessities for a 48-hour period.
Activated CERT members can be utilized to assist with basic scene or support functions including:
- Basic First Aid
- Triage of Victims
- Extinguishment of small incipient phase fires utilizing makeshift aids or fire extinguishers. (NOTE – No interior firefighting is allowed and CERT members will not be in a position where smoke inhalation or heat endangers their safety).
- Light Search and Rescue to include cribbing/leveraging and removal of patients from danger.
- Setting up treatment, rehab or similar sectors.
- Maintaining accountability for fellow CERT members.
- Supervising CERT sectors or groups.
- Any other operation required to remedy a given scenario that does not directly endanger the CERT members or move outside of their scope of practice.
NOTE: Many members of CERT have skills beyond what is taught through the CERT program e.g. physicians and other health professionals, heavy equipment operators, etc. While these skills may be helpful during an emergency or disaster, they are outside the CERT scope of practice as a CERT member.
When an alert, mobilization, or deployment order has been issued and subsequent information indicates CERT assistance is not required, EB OEM will issue a notice of cancellation to the Team Leader through the Select-Alert system. All incident commanders and first responders may remove a CERT member from a scene for any reason as they see fit.
D. SELF DEPLOYMENT/FREELANCING
Team members are not allowed to self deploy to an incident. Deployment will be done as a team. If a person self deploys he/she will forfeit all protection from liability provided by the CERT program and the Town of East Bridgewater. Furthermore, the individual will be removed from the CERT program immediately.
CERT members are not permitted to carry or possess any weapons while undertaking activities as a CERT member unless authorized by the OEM Director.
VI. TRAINING AND EXERCISING
The CERT team concept is intended to provide additional support resources in non-critical functions during large-scale situations and also provide non-emergency support functions during non-emergency situations. To be prepared to respond, team personnel must maintain a minimal level of training.
B. TRAINING GUIDELINES
The CERT training program is based on maintaining a skill level to assist in the basic life saving efforts until the first response system is activated and an effective response is initiated. Personnel must also possess the knowledge required to accomplish this effectively without the threat of becoming secondary casualties.
Some examples of the types of training that are necessary will include first aid, triage, rescue, utility shutoff, use of personal protective equipment, and communications.
Due to their mission, CERT team(s) may respond and operate in several different environments and be responsible for numerous functions. All CERT members must receive an appropriate level of training necessary for their function.
- Basic CERT training
All team members are required to successfully complete and maintain the basic CERT training.
- Basic MRC (Medical Reserve Corp) Training
All team members will be given the opportunity to attend MRC training.
- Incident Command Training
All team members must attend Incident Command training to be eligible for field response.
Equipping a CERT team is a significant commitment by the town. Properly selected and maintained equipment is essential to insure the team is capable of responding to a major event.
B. PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
Each CERT member is issued equipment that he/she is responsible for. This equipment must be properly maintained and readily available for response to a situation. Members must bring equipment to the staging area.
The equipment provided includes but not limited to:
TO BE DETERMINED
C. EQUIPMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
Team leaders will inventory each member’s equipment bag twice per year and report to the CERT coordinator. If equipment is missing or damaged, EB OEM will address the issue with the member.
If the member leaves the team, the equipment will be returned to the CERT coordinator within two weeks of notification. Unreturned equipment will be replaced at the previous member’s expense.
A pre-defined and effective communications strategy for the CERT program is required to support the mission and goals of the program. This section supports:
- Overall communications plan
- Communication procedures for alerting, mobilizing and deploying teams
- Communications between the EOC and/or Incident Commander and CERT teams
- Communication between members and teams at the incident site
- Communications terminology
- General communications procedures
B. AVAILABLE COMMUNICATIONS
The following equipment and communication system resources are capable of being utilized for CERT communications.
- Commercial telephone and fax service is typically maintained by private companies and work under normal conditions. Outages may occur when infrastructure has been impacted or when the services are experiencing unusually heavy demand.
- In-house portable radio.
- The East Bridgewater EOC radio system.
C. COMMUNICATIONS TERMINOLOGY
- Using common terminology and terms when communicating is essential usinga common system. This system would utilize clear text and commonlanguage in both communications and call signs in order to:
- Function according to Incident Command Standards
- Facilitate communication of information at an incident scene
- Ease identification of different responsibilities
- Identify units by function and/or geographic assignment
- Identify all units in clear text
- The following rules of communication will apply to CERT team operations:
- The use of “10” codes will not be used
- Plain text will be used at all times
- Conversations should be clear, concise and short to minimize tying up the radio.
- The words “CODE RED” should be announced over the radio when scene is no longer under control or personnel are in immediate danger.
- It is important when initiating a conversation on a radio system to first identify the unit being called, by the unit calling.
- The person initiating a conversation is responsible for announcing “clear” when he/she is through communicating on the radio. This will let others know that the conversation is completed and they may use the radio.
D. GENERAL COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURES
Each team member will operate only on the operational channel assigned at the incident.
IX. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL
All CERT members are subject to dismissal from the program for any reason as appropriated by the Emergency management Director or the CERT coordinator. Some examples of actions that could result in removal from the
CERT program are:
- Self-deployment to an incident or scene
- Unauthorized use of CERT signage or logos.
- Unprofessional or aggressive behavior toward other CERT members, residents, first responders, or other authorities.
- Failure to follow the direction of authorities.
- Being found guilty of crime by a judge or jury.
After a member has been removed, he or she must return all equipment provided by the CERT program within two weeks. This person will be charged for non-returned items.
The CERT program is a very valuable resource to East Bridgewater when operating in its intended functions. These Standard Operating Guidelines help insure proper orientation of the program and its members. Each member is responsible for understanding and following these guidelines.