Review Qualifications for CERT Roles by Nov. 26
Calling everyone in the CERT community! You have an opportunity to provide feedback on CERT position descriptions. To ensure both volunteers and incident management staff are on the same page when called upon to support a disaster, FEMA has developed specific definitions and qualifications for three key positions: CERT Volunteer, CERT Section Chief, and CERT Team Leader.
These new documents align with the FEMA National Qualification System (NQS). NQS is a collection of documents that describe the minimum criteria for responder qualifications. It was developed to create consistency for responders when working on incidents, including outside their home area. Included in the NQS are documents that describe the position qualifications and task books that explain position-specific activities. These task books will be used to document performance for each task that is part of the job. NQS is one of four key activities of the Resource Management component in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). It is not mandatory for CERT groups to participate in NQS, but it is encouraged for them to be consistent with NIMS.
Before the updated CERT descriptions can be finalized, they are posted by FEMA for a National Engagement Period. The National Engagement Period started on October 27, 2020 and will close at 5 p.m. ET on November 26, 2020. This time period provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the new draft language. The documents, comment forms, and information on how to submit your input can be found on the FEMA webpage for the CERT NQS.
One benefit of incorporating CERT positions into the NQS is that it will also add them to the new OneResponder tool. OneResponder is a free, web-based system that uses a uniform terminology and approach to certify emergency personnel. Task books can be accessed on OneResponder using your smartphone, tablet, and online. To learn more about OneResponder, please visit www.oneresponder.net.
The CERT program informs volunteers on the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization. Professional first responders can rely on CERT volunteers during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.
FEMA wants to ensure it considers the feedback and recommendations of the personnel it supports with these new Position Qualifications and Position Task Books. Don’t miss your chance to lend your voice to this exciting opportunity!