People take CERT classes for different reasons. Learning how to be prepared for a disaster or emergency is the most common. People may want to learn how to take care of themselves, their families, and maybe their neighbors. Many of us take CERT training so that, once our own house and family are safe and secure, we might be able to help in our neighborhoods.

Most people who start the 20 hour Basic Training also complete it. At the end, Martinez area residents are offered the option to be sworn in as a “Disaster Service Worker” (a DSW) with the City of Martinez. Being a DSW means that the City’s insurance covers volunteers who may be injured during an official recovery effort or during official training.

There are two levels for being a DSW: local and full.

  • Local: If you only plan on helping locally, you can be sworn in as a local DSW volunteer. Currently we only conduct a local police background checks to reveal any felony arrests or convictions.
  • Full: If you’d like to consider being deployed to assist in other areas, outside of Contra Costa County (for example, some of our volunteers went to assist with recovery after the Paradise fire), you’ll need to talk with us about getting a Live Scan and deeper background check. More on this below.

Your DSW status is good for three years, and can be renewed as described in our updated policy below.

DSW Policy changes for Martinez Area CERT Members

Effective Jan. 2020

DSW Renewal Requirement

Members of Martinez CERT who have become Disaster Service Workers by completing the 20-hour basic class and participating in a disaster exercise will be required to renew their DSW status if they have completed the course prior to January of 2017.

This change in policy is to keep our DSW members current on their training and response skills. The CERT Steering Committee has recommended that every three years DSW members:

  1. repeat the basic class work,
  2. take a review-recertification course, or
  3. participate as a team member in one of the two annual CERT disaster exercises to maintain their knowledge and skills.

By participating in one of these three activities DSW member can renew their active status for participation in an actual disaster event. Failure to complete one of the three activities during the year 2020 will result in the member losing their DSW status. Instructors and active CERT Administrative members are exempt from this requirement. This policy will re-occur each year in January of the new year for DSW members who have taken their training over three years ago from that year.

Spring 2020 Classes (flyer) begin on March 10 with a six-night Tuesday evening session and an intensive weekend session March 27, 28 and 29. The review-recertification class for the Spring will be held February 15 and the CERT Disaster Exercise for the Spring will be held on May 2. Those are all opportunities for existing CERT DSW Members to renew their DSW status.

DSW Deployment Requirement

After CERT DSWs were deployed for post fire recovery work to the Paradise Fire in 2018-2019, State OES realized they were an untapped resource to assist with disaster recovery. As a result, they are asking for all DSW CERT members who wish to be deployed in the future for post disaster assignments to be vetted via a Live Scan background check. Therefore, starting in January 2020, Martinez CERT will begin scheduling Live Scan appointments for DSW Members who wish to participate. Currently we only conduct a local police background checks to reveal any felony arrests or convictions.