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Volunteers participate in the 2022 CERT training exercise

On Alert, All Year Round

Hillsborough CERT teams stay trained and prepared for potential emergencies

When severe weather, wildfires, or any type of hazard heads toward Hillsborough County, the Office of Emergency Management is ready to respond. However, it's a job the County can't do alone.

Members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) also step in and support.

The CERT program trains volunteers throughout the nation to prepare for disasters. They learn basic skills such as fire safety, search and rescue, emergency medical operations, and team organization. CERT teams support full-time responders in emergency situations, allowing the professionals to focus on critical tasks.

Join a CERT team

During the 2022 annual CERT exercise at the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), various CERT teams and community volunteers participated in several tabletop exercises and trainings.

The exercises focused on potential disasters that CERT teams would respond to:

  • Setting up closed and open points of distribution/dispensing (POD)
  • Mass casualty triage
  • Situational awareness and damage assessments
  • Working with dogs and cats in a pet shelter
  • Psychological/behavioral first aid when responding to residents in a call center
  • Supporting a family reunification center
  • Infection control measures for biological threat.

The exercise design was a collaborative effort with the USF College of Public Health in partnership with Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Health, TECO Emergency Management, Disaster Response Ministries International, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Operations, Walt Disney World Global, and the City of Tampa Office of Emergency Management.

While CERT members continue to do their part to prepare, they also want to remind residents to have their own emergency plans.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2022

Hillsborough County's Stay Safe page has everything residents and families need to know about disaster preparedness. Residents can find their evacuation and flood zones, learn how to prepare their homes, pack a disaster kit, and more.

Sign up for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County's official mass notification system. HCFL Alert is designed to keep you informed about local emergencies, everyday events, and county news that's important to you.

Get Connected. Stay Alert.

Photo Information: CERT team members learn how to respond to potential hazards and emergencies.

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