Veterans Green Villages

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Starting a CERT Program

Step 4: Acquiring Training Materials

Ideas for Obtaining CERT Resources

This job aid presents some sources of funding or in-kind contributions, in addition to agency support, that have been successful for CERT Program Coordinators. As you review the list, consider your community. You may identify other sources for the resources you need.

As you arrange for funding, remember that most communities will not establish a separate account for CERT funds. Be sure to check with the appropriate personnel locally to determine the process required to receive funding for the CERT program.

  • Request a line item in the community budget. Communities that are committed to emergency preparedness and response may be able to support at least part of your program costs on a continuing basis.

  • Charge a fee.Some communities charge a fee to cover the costs of their materials and equipment. While this is not the preferred method for funding CERT programs, it is a viable alternative in some communities. Be careful if you plan to develop CERTs in low-income areas. Many residents in low-income areas cannot afford to pay for a CERT program and will not be able to attend if there are out-of-pocket costs involved.

    Businesses may be more willing to pay for CERT training because they can show a direct benefit to their operations. One community charged businesses for the training, explaining that this money would be used to support neighborhood training.

  • Solicit donations. Some corporations, businesses, and service clubs have a history of supporting community programs and include it in their donations plan. Try to determine how CERT can benefit them and can fit into their donations plan before you approach them. The worst thing that can happen is that they will say no. When soliciting donations, ensure that you recognize business contributions on your website or in your newsletter.

  • Solicit in-kind contributions.Corporations may be more willing to donate materials or supplies for CERTs, rather than money. If this is the case, try to gain donations for items that are critical to the program. You will need hardhats, flashlights, batteries, rope, printing services, recharging of fire extinguishers, and a lot more. Offer attribution as a sponsor of CERT programs in exchange for the donation, and follow up with a formal thank you.

    Also, utility companies have a track record for providing the mockups you'll need to demonstrate how to turn off gas and electrical utilities. Approach your local utilities to explain your program. You might be surprised at what they'll offer. (They may also have supplemental training programs to offer your CERT graduates.)

  • Apply for a grant. FEMA is making grant funding available to States for local CERT training. If you are beginning a CERT in a school district, grant money may be available under the Federal "Safe Schools" program. Additionally, some corporations also offer grants for specific causes, including emergency preparedness. Remember, though, that grant funding is temporary. Even if you get a grant to get your program started, you will have to find a permanent source of funding for program maintenance.

  • Establish a Not-For-Profit Organization. Some CERTs have established themselves as not-for-profit organizations, which are also called organizations. Organizations need to complete and submit an application for status and, typically, CERTs that have done so, are well established rather than startup groups. However, if CERTs can be organized as organizations, they are able to raise funds through tax-deductible contributions from donors.


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Comment by Gordon Soderberg on September 5, 2012 at 8:44pm

Team Rubicon USA

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Domestic Team Member

A. Position Description

This is the starting point for Team Rubicon volunteers.  Each volunteer is originally identified as a Domestic Team Member (DTM) and can begin the required training program before they are “approved” in our system.  Approval happens on a personal level through our state and regional leadership and can take some time depending on the activity levels in your region.  

This DTM billet will be applied to everyone in our database beginning September 5, 2012.  We will be announcing “international billets” throughout the year, beginning with “Team Leader” and then moving on to other technical and medical billets such as “Rescue Specialist” and “Physician”.  If you think you are capable of filling one of these slots, then sign up for it when the appropriate billet becomes available.  You may sign up for ONE additional international billet.

You are not REQUIRED to finish the training classes listed below before deploying into a domestic mission.  Further, Team Rubicon will not be asking for your completion certificates from these classes.  The classes listed below will give you a BASIC understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS) and will GREATLY help you if/when you are asked to help another organization.  Team Rubicon has worked with FEMA, USAID, and many other large organizations in the past, and familiarity with the  Incident Command System (ICS) has proven to be a benefit.

B. Prerequisite Qualifications:

  1. Domestic Team Members need to maintain a minimal physical fitness level in order to dependably work in a chaotic and resource-limited emergency setting.  That fitness level is up to the DTM to evaluate, but if it becomes an issue while on a mission, the Team Leader reserves the right to dismiss a volunteer from a mission site or to relegate them to a safer alternate duty.

C. Expiration/Renewal:

There is no expiration for this position.  


  1. IS-100: Introduction to Incident Command
  2. Summary - ICS 100 introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  3. FEMA Emergency Management Institute
  4. FREE
  5. IS-700: NIMS an Introduction
  6. Summary - This course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.
  7. FEMA Emergency Management Institute
  8. FREE
  9. IS-317 Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  10. Summary - After completing this course you should be able to identify key concepts that form the foundation for CERT operations and identify principles and guidelines for CERT activities
  11. FEMA Emergency Management Institute
  12. FREE

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