Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training Academy

Register now for Fall CERT Academy 2024

Start online coursework now  OR  come to in-person classes  in October/November

CERT Basic Training Academy is a free comprehensive 20 hour training course combining classroom and hands-on instruction to teach basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, earthquake survival skills, light search and rescue, team organization, radio communication, and disaster medical operations.  Upon completion, members will be able to assist their community or workplace following an emergency event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. 

Candidates may complete the classroom portion of the training either in-person or online at their own pace.

Two teaching formats to suit your learning style

A sizable portion (about 12 hours) of CERT Basic Training Academy consists of classroom instruction, teaching you how to prepare for and respond to hazards that may impact the Coastside.   Candidates may choose to complete this portion through 10 self-guided online learning modules or by attending a series of three in-person classes at Coastside Fire Station 40 in Half Moon Bay.  

Regardless of which option you choose for the classroom portion, all candidates will complete the final (about 8 hour) day of practical hands-on training and disaster simulation led by SMC Department of Emergency Management District Coordinator David Cosgrave at Coastside Fire Station 40.

Online, at your own pace

Coursework can be completed on tablet, laptop, or desktop devices at your own pace.  Progress is saved and can be resumed later.  For Spring CERT, Class is now full and closed. Thank you! all 10 online modules must be completed by Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 5:00 PM.  Then submit the completion certificate to to confirm your place in the in-person Training Day & Graduation on March 9, 2024.  This allows the class administrators to know how many in-person class spaces are available and to prepare a personalized training experience for every student attending Training Day & Graduation. 

For Fall CERT, all 10 online modules must be completed by Sunday, October 6, 2024 at 5:00 PM

After registering for training, follow these instructions to register and complete the online course. 

In-person at Coastside Fire Station 40

Training will be conducted during evenings and weekends (see exact dates below) at Coastside Fire Station 40, 1191 Main St, Half Moon Bay.

Class size is limited to 30-35 candidates so everyone has plenty of time for hands-on practice. Once we know how many candidates will complete the online course, the remaining spaces are open to in-person candidates, first come first served. After 35 registered candidates, we will begin a waitlist. 

Please ensure that you will be able to attend ALL 4 in-person classes before signing up.

Learning from the best

Approximately one week before the in-person training day, Chief Cosgrave will hold a  Zoom Q&A and Instruction session with all registered online candidates who have completed the training modules to provide localized Coastside knowledge to your CERT training and answer any questions you may have.  See the recording from a previous session.

With a genuine passion for teaching, Chief Cosgrave weaves his three decades of Coastside first responder experiences in and out of FEMA's basic training curriculum with threads of practical life-saving skills, relatable stories to boost your Coastside survival IQ, and a wicked sense of humor. He knows where all the bodies are buried, so to speak (though he says he won't tell ;) and shares his amazing experiences to teach you, your family, and your neighbors how to stay safe. 

Putting it all into practice

Training culminates in a full-day, hands-on training session (and graduation!) at Coastside Fire Station 40 (1191 Main St, Half Moon Bay) led by local first responders, CERT instructors and CERT volunteers.  The emphasis is on learning by doing: Instructors demonstrate and candidates practice the skills based on the CERT curriculum checklist, progressing from one skill station to another followed by team participation in disaster simulations.  

In compliance with public health guidelines, masks are optional but encouraged.  Social distancing, hand-washing, and sanitizing are encouraged.  Candidates must attend the full day in order to receive a final certificate of course completion. You will be a  full-fledged CERT graduate by the end of this session.

Most candidates are 18+ years old.  Candidates aged 16-17 years may be able to join by special arrangement.

Upcoming In-Person Training Sessions

March 2024   This Class was a Great Success- Thank You!

In-Person Classroom Instruction: 

Spring CERT Academy Training Day & Graduation (All Candidates)

November 2024

In-Person Classroom Instruction

Fall Training Day & Graduation (All Candidates)

If you have any questions, please contact coastsidecert@gmail.comThank you - You can do this!

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