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Why a DIY CERT
Organizational Roles and Relationships




1. Department of Homeland Security
"On February 28, 2003 the President tasked the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, as part of Presidential Directive DHS-5, to provide a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.

This plan called for the establishment of the National Incident Management System(NIMS) and the implementation of the Incident Command System(ICS)."

Neighborhood CERTs do not interface directly with DHS.


2. Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA is tasked by DHS to establish the National Incident Management System(NIMS). As part of this system FEMA creates the Emergency Management System, the Citizen Corps and the Emergency Management Institute.

As directed by Presidential Directive DHS-5, all participants in this system must operate under the Incident Command System(ICS)

Neighborhood CERTs do not interface directly with FEMA.


2.1. Emergency Management Agencies
Emergency Management is that part of NIMS that provides federal funding and grants to government organizations that participate in the NIMS system.

Emergency Management works in three tiers:
2.1.1. There are ten Regional Emergency Management Centers that are part of FEMA. They provide coordination and guidance to state and local Emergency Management Departments and coordinate the grant requests and funds distribution within each federal regional area.

Neighborhood CERTs will not interface directly with FEMA Regional Centers.
2.1.2. State Emergency Management Organizations,such as the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) are heavily funded by FEMA grants. There are seven Florida Regional Coordination Teams in DEM. Region 7 includes Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Neighborhood CERTs will not interface directly with Florida Regional Centers.
2.1.3. Palm Beach County Division of Emergency Management is funded by a share of the grant from the Seventh Florida Regional Coordination Team.

Neighborhood CERTs will interface directly with Palm Beach County - Division of Emergency Management. Interface subjects and methods, such as communications, organization, operation, drills and exercises will be defined in the CERT'S Emergency Operating Plan (EOP).


2.2. Citizen Corps
"The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds through:
The Citizen Corps is that part of NIMS that coodinates the unpaid, unfunded volunteer organizations that participate in the NIMS program.

"Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. In this capacity, FEMA works closely with other federal entities, state and local governments, first responders and emergency managers, the volunteer community, and the Corporation for National & Community Service.

Citizen Corps is a program under the Department of Homeland Security that provides training for the population of the United States to assist in the recovery after a disaster or terrorist attack. Each local Citizen Corps Council partners with organizations, volunteers and businesses to organize responders, volunteers and professional first responders for an efficient response so efforts aren't wasted by being duplicated. By training in Incident Command, volunteers know who to report to and how the incident is organized. This prevents sites from being inundated by untrained and unprepared people milling about and getting in the way. Citizen Corps also works in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service in promoting national service opportunities for promoting homeland security needs."

2.2.1. Citizen Corps has five partners:

"The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community. The program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency."

2.2.2. "Affiliate Programs and Organizations offer communities resources for public education, outreach, and training; represent volunteers interested in helping to make their community safer; or offer volunteer service opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief activities, and community safety efforts."

There are 26 Citizen Corps Affiliate programs including:


2.3. Emergency Management Instiute
"EMI trains more than 2 million students annually. Training delivery systems include residential onsite training; offsite delivery in partnership with emergency management training systems, colleges, universities; and technology-based mediums to conduct individual training courses for emergency management personnel across the Nation."



3. FCC, ARRL, ARES
"The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America's communications law and regulations."

The FCC has delegated the management of Amateur Radio bands, frequencies and opeations to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

The ARRL has created the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) as a specially trained group within the amateur radio (HAM) population specifically to work with amateur radio in the Public Service emergency communications environment.

"The Amateur Radio Emergency ServiceĻ (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes These specially trained people work in the Communcations Unit within the CERT's Incident Command Structure (ICS) and are the authorized radio operators within the FEMA - Auxilliary Communications (AuxComm) structure.

There is a Memorandum of Agreement between FEMA and the ARRL to provide support to Citizen Corps. This MOA specifically seeks to "encourage partnership with DHS/FEMA, Ready.gov, Citizen Corps Councils and Citizen Corps partner programs and affiliates to support community disaster awareness and preparedness campaigns and programs where affiliates exist and are able to participate." [ex. CERT is a partner program and American Red Cross is an affiliate program]

This MOA can be expanded in the local ARES chapters to provide significant services to a CERT through a Served Agency Agreements. A sample CERT/ARES Served Agency Agreement is provided in the Comunications Section of the Emergency Operations Plan.



All quoted text in this page courtesy of the appropriate agency website


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