On the 9th May 2021, the City of Tshwane Emergency Services Department launched the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Pilot Programme in Region 6 at the Mamelodi Council Chambers.
The aim of the CERT Programme is to educate volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their community, and train them in basic response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organisation and disaster medical operations.
The programme is one of the key means of promoting the community’s readiness in terms of preparedness and response capability. It also assists in reducing the adverse impacts of the identified hazards and risks within the community.
By engaging community members in the early phases of disaster preparation and response, communities can be better prepared for when disaster strikes.
The purpose of the programme is to train and organise community members to be a response asset in an emergency or disaster and to be an extension of first responder services until professional responders arrive.
The intention of this training is to capacitate CERT members to work within the boundaries of their training skills, through which they can help themselves, their family, neighbours and the community-at-large.
ESD, in conjunction with SANTAM and the Fire Protection Association of South Africa (FPASA), identified and agreed on the minimum training and induction required by a CERT member to effectively respond to emergencies.
The following minimum training requirements have been identified:
- Disaster preparedness
- Fire safety and utility controls
- Disaster medical operations (first aid)
- Light search and rescue operations
- CERT organisations
- Course review
- Final exam and disaster simulation
On completion of the training, all successful members will be recognised as CERT members and will be issued with a certificate indicating the training completed. This certificate will be issued by FPASA, which has been appointed through a Memorandum of Understanding with SANTAM, to present the training in Tshwane as a pilot project.
The initiative of the ESD, in partnership with SANTAM and FPASA, to establish CERT teams will allow the community to effectively identify and respond to emergencies.
The initiative again illustrates the critical role of meaningful partnerships in pursuing a safe and secure Tshwane, where all residents are safe and feel safe.
While communities often only encounter ESD personnel in times of emergency, crisis, or disaster, they are not helpless spectators and should be partners in their own safety, security, and well-being. The CERT programme is therefore an important element in realising that, and the City of Tshwane is immensely grateful for the contribution of SANTAM and the FPASA.
Ald. Karen Meyer
MMC FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES