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San Mateo CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is made up of San Mateo residents who are trained to take care of themselves and their community in the aftermath of a major disaster, when first responders are overwhelmed or unable to respond because of communication or transportation difficulties.

In an emergency, these CERT-trained residents first ensure the safety of themselves and their families. They can then work outward to the neighborhood or office and beyond until first responders arrive. Finally, they can assist first-response personnel as directed. During training, residents learn to:

  • Prepare for the hazards that threaten their communities.

  • Locate and turn off utilities.

  • Extinguish small fires.

  • Identify hazardous materials situations.

  • Triage and treat victims.

  • Set up a medical treatment area.

  • Conduct searches and rescues in lightly and moderately damaged structures.

  • Understand the psychological impact of a disaster on themselves and others.

  • Organize CERT members and spontaneous volunteers for an effective and safe response.