For over 30 years, Neighborhood Watch has made communities safer through getting local residents actively involved in patrolling their neighborhoods to report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Since 9/11, in addition to serving in a crime prevention role, Neighborhood Watch programs also engage residents in disaster preparedness, convene evacuation drills and exercises and organize group trainings, such as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
To find a Neighborhood Watch program in your area, please click here.
Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services cannot always meet the substantially increased demand for their services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures and road blockages can prevent people from immediately accessing emergency services through 9-1-1. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates individuals about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. CERT members give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to affected individuals and organize volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of their community. The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens to assist in times of disaster.
If you are interested in starting a CERT in your area, please click here.