City of Ventura launches Community Emergency Response Team

Participants will complete 24 hours of training.

Recognizing the critical need for community members to be prepared and confident in taking appropriate action, the City of Ventura, in collaboration with the Ventura County Fire Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the City of Santa Paula, is excited to announce the launch of its new Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program.

This free, comprehensive program equips 40 participants with essential skills and knowledge about potential local disasters and how to respond safely, swiftly, and responsibly. Applications are open to Ventura and Santa Paula residents, and will be accepted through Wednesday, January 24, 2024.

“In the aftermath of a major disaster, the demand for professional responders can exceed availability. Our community’s ability to respond effectively in times of crisis relies heavily on the preparedness of our residents,” said Mack Douglass, Ventura’s Emergency Services Manager. “The CERT program provides an opportunity for individuals to not only enhance their emergency preparedness but also become an essential part of the first response efforts.”

Participants will complete 24 hours of training covering various aspects of emergency response, including reducing fire hazards, setting up medical treatment areas, assisting responders, conducting light search and rescue operations, and more. Upon completion, each graduate will receive a certificate of completion and a CERT disaster start-up pack containing a helmet, gloves, vest, and safety goggles.

“This collaboration exemplifies the strength that comes from neighboring communities working together toward a common goal of enhancing public safety and emergency response,” said Kate Watkins, Emergency Services Coordinator for the City of Santa Paula. “I am confident that our joint commitment to preparedness will lend itself to a safer and more resilient region for all.”

The program is set to begin on January 31, 2024, and will be held on five consecutive Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., with the last class hosted on Tuesday, March 5. The final drill and skills showcase will be hosted on Saturday, March 9, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Six classes will be hosted at the Ventura Police Department Headquarters, with the final class hosted at the Alessandro Fire Training Facility.

For more information and to register for the CERT program, please visit

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