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Frequently Asked Questions for Teens

This page offers responses to questions frequently asked by teens about the Teen CERT program, and is primarily intended for individuals not already familiar with Teen CERT.

For answers to questions not listed here, individuals should contact their state point of contact for CERT (all listed here: //, the national CERT program office at, or the FEMA Youth Preparedness Technical Assistance Center at

Q: How long is the training?
A: The Basic CERT Training takes a total of approximately 20-30 hours. Additional time will be required if the school will offer certification in CPR, First Aid and AED.

Q: What is included in the training?
A: The training consists of nine units; each unit has goals and learning objectives. The units teach you to keep yourself safe while helping others; to identify and anticipate hazards; reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace; use fire extinguishers to put out small fires; assist emergency responders; conduct light search and rescue; set up medical treatment areas; apply basic first aid techniques and help reduce survivor stress. At the end of the course, you'll participate in a disaster drill to reinforce the skills you learn in the training.

Q: Why should I join?
A: In 95% of all emergencies, the victim or a bystander provides the first immediate assistance. Joining a Teen CERT teaches you how to respond when others look to you for help. You'll learn life skills, fulfill community service requirements, give back to the community, develop leadership skills and help make your school safer.

Q: What will I contribute to my school as a Teen CERT member?
A: As a trained member, you can help when there's an emergency. And you could also support other activities within the school. You can address safety issues, provide peer mentoring, participate in disaster drills and exercises, assist in preparedness outreach, present fire safety education and teach home safety.

Q: Is it safe?
A: This training is about learning to respond safely and responsibly. You will be outfitted in all necessary safety gear and educated on proper safety procedures. Volunteers are taught and constantly reminded that rescuer safety is the most important thing for CERT members. (You cannot help others if you get hurt yourself!) The intent is not to expose you to additional risk; rather, it is to provide you with proper training so you are safely able to help victims during an event when professional responders may be delayed.

Q: What if none of my friends want to take the training with me?
A: Join anyway! The training is a great opportunity to meet new people. You'll get to know others as you practice vital teamwork skills. Once your friends see what you're learning, they may want to join as well.

Q: Can I use this material for fulfilling community service credits for graduation?
A: Yes and it is encouraged. It is recommended that participants receive 20-30 community service hours toward graduation. Talk to your principal or teachers for more information.

Q: How do I join?
A: Talk to your local CERT (see: State Directory) or your school to see if there is one in your area. If there isn't, start your own! Talk to an existing CERT volunteer, your principal or your parents for help.


Last Updated: 
06/27/2016 - 08:34