About CaliforniaVolunteers

CaliforniaVolunteers is the State Administrator for the CERT program in California.  As the State Administrator, our responsibilities are to provide technical support and guidance for local CERT programs as well as vetting CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager Course deliveries and instructors.  We also provide training, conferences, workshops, and other support as funding and time permits.  Suu-Va Tai at CaliforniaVolunteers is designated as the State Administrator for Citizen Corps and CERT.  You can reach Suu-Va at suu-va.tai@cv.ca.gov, or suuva.tai@caloes.ca.gov, or 916-524-3964.  Please do not give this information to your volunteers.  It is strictly for the CERT Program Managers and/or Sponsoring Agency point of contacts and other CERT leadership as needed.


Rebuilding the California CERT contact list

In an effort to strengthen the communication between the State and local CERT programs, we have created a survey to capture CERT Program Contact Information.  Please take 2 minutes to complete this survey.  The survey will ask for the contact information for the CERT program in general, the program manager, the sponsoring agency main point of contact, and up to 3 additional people from your program that you wish to be added to our contact list.  These additional people can be other paid staff for the program or sponsoring agency, instructors, or volunteers with leadership roles.  You can find the survey here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CACERTContactList.  Please take the time to complete this survey whether or not you are already getting emails from our office.  In the future, we will be using this survey and the CERT registration website to populate our emails.  If you are not on either of those lists, you will likely not get emails from our office regarding CERT in California and Nationally.



New CERT Website Launch

FEMA launched the new CERT website mid-August, 2018.  With this new website, CERT programs will need to re-register their CERT program.  FEMA imported existing CERT program data into the new website to help facilitate this.  Many CERT programs received an email to re-register.  You can also go to the website directly at https://community.fema.gov/Register/.


At this time, FEMA has identified several issues with the website including:

  • Resetting/retrieving login passwords
  • Creating a new user for an existing program
  • State Administrators having proper permissions to edit and approve registrations


Please be patient as we work with FEMA to resolve these issues.  If you have had issues with the website please send me a quick email to suuva.tai@caloes.ca.gov along with the type of issue you are having.  I will capture it and get back to you once there is a fix.


CERT Curriculum Update

FEMA is still in the process of finalizing the CERT Curriculum Update and should be releasing it soon.  Here is some general information and guidance regarding the curriculum update:

  • When the new materials are released, there will be a delay in getting the new printed materials.  FEMA will not print the new manuals until it is finalized, and will prefer to release the new materials as soon as possible rather than wait to allow time for printing.
  • When the new materials are released you can download and teach to the new materials right away while handing out the old manuals if you have them in stock.  You can also teach using the old manuals and Power Point Slides until you receive the new materials
  • The new curriculum will keep most of the existing materials but will have updates based on new standards and best practices
  • There will be Spanish versions of the new materials but these may not be released at the same time
  • There will be new CERT Train-the-Trainer and CERT Program Manager materials developed to correspond with the new CERT Basic Curriculum.  These will likely not be released until sometime after the CERT Basic curriculum release
  • FEMA has created a crosswalk of the changes between the old and new curriculums.  These will be shared with CERT program managers to help prep their instructors


Current estimates from FEMA are that the new curriculum is very close to release.  I am now crossing my fingers that it will be before the end of 2018.


2018 National CERT Conference in Florida

Florida hosted the 2018 National Conference recently on August 22-25 in Naples, FL.  Over 400 people attended the conference from over 25 States throughout the US.  There were even attendees from Canada and Puerto Rico.  Over 20 people were able to attend from California.



2019 CERT Conference in California

Due to the success of the National CERT Conference in Florida, many states are now interested in hosting a National CERT Conference.  Missouri has been approved to host the National CERT Conference in 2020 and Mississippi and Ohio have both expressed interest for 2021 and 2022 respectively.  To facilitate this, a National CERT Conference Committee has been formed to vet and approve National CERT Conference submissions as well as to support the host state in the planning efforts.


There is currently a void in 2019 for CERT Conferences. Therefore, CaliforniaVolunteers, in partnership with CERT programs throughout CA, will hold one.  Working with many CERT programs in California, we spent the last few weeks looking at potential conference sites throughout the state.  Based on date, price, and location we are happy to announce that the 2019 CERT Conference will be held at:


The Paradise Point Hotel and Spa in San Diego, CA, May 30 through June 1, 2019 with pre-conference training held May 27-May 29, 2019.  The hotel is located at:  1404 Vacation Road San Diego, CA 92109


Here is the hotel link:  https://www.destinationhotels.com/paradise-point


We have negotiated a fantastic rate of $140/night with tourism fees waived.  Daily parking at the hotel is free and overnight parking is reduced 50% to $19 per night.  The hotel is right in the bay and many rooms are literally a few feet from the beach.  The hotel will honor the conference rate starting Sunday, May 26 for participants coming in for pre-conference training through Monday, June 3, 2019 for those that want to stay in San Diego for the weekend.  The hotel has roughly 270 rooms/night at this available rate but they are all first come first serve (and available to the public as we are only holding 150 on the busy nights as part of the contract) so book early.  You can always cancel if you do not make it to the conference (1-week notice).


We are still in the initial planning phase of the conference and more details (including registration) will be revealed soon.  The hotel is currently setting up the group rate so please give them another week or two before calling to reserve your rooms.


If you would like to be on the emailing list for conference, updates please complete a short survey to enter your contact information at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019CERTCoferenceList



Currently over 30 people/CERT Programs have expressed interest to help with the planning efforts for the conference.  If your CERT program is interested in helping with the planning or execution of the CERT conference, please contact me at suuva.tai@caloes.ca.gov and let me know how you want to help.  Examples can be (by You, I mean you or someone at your program):

  • You have funding you want to direct toward the conference
  • You have relationships with potential sponsors and/or vendors
  • You have a print shop and can do printing
  • You are good at social media and want to help with promoting the conference
  • You are good at website design and want to help develop the conference website
  • You are good at graphics work and want to help with creating/editing artwork for the conference
  • You have access to a free or discounted venue that can host the conference



CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager Course schedule

CaliforniaVolunteers received some training funds from Cal OES and will be sponsoring several CERT Train-the-Trainer and/or Program Manager Courses in the following jurisdictions. Below is the list of the training with dates and as a point of contact to email if you are interested:

  • 11/2 to 11/3 – CERT Program Manager Course in Kern County, email Jeannie Taylor atjetaylor@kerncountyfire.org
  • 11/26 to 11/27 – CERT Program Manager Course in San Luis Obispo County, email Lonny Rollins at lonny@therollins.family
  • 11/28 to 11/30 – CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in San Luis Obispo County, email Lonny Rollins atlonny@therollins.family
  • 11/28 to 11/29 – CERT Program Manager Course in Fresno County, email Chad Fitzgerald atChadF@ci.clovis.ca.us
  • 11/30 to 12/2 – CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Fresno County, email Chad Fitzgerald atChadF@ci.clovis.ca.us
  • 11/30 – 12/2 – Spanish CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Alameda County (at Chabot College), email Liliana Encinas at lilianaencinas@gmail.com
  • 12/5 to 12/6 – CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Sacramento County, email Robert Ross atrobr@sfdcert.org
  • 12/7 to 12/9 – CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Sacramento County, email Robert Ross atrobr@sfdcert.org
  • 12/11 – 12/13 – CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Del Norte County, email Cindy Henderson atchenderson@co.del-norte.ca.us
  • 12/14 – 12/16 – Spanish CERT Train-the-Trainer Course in Los Angeles County (at City of Ontario EOC, on the border of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties), email Zuzzette Bricker at zuzzetteb@moval.org



In addition, the follow CERT Train-the-trainer courses will be delivered by a local jurisdiction:

  • TBD – CERT Train-the-Trainer course in Los Angeles County (Antelope Valley) hosted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  Email Lonnie Smith at llsmith@lasd.org for more info.
  • 12/3 to 12/5 – CERT Train-the-Trainer course in Orange County (Costa Mesa) hosted by Costa Mesa City.  Email Brenda Emrick at BRENDA.EMRICK@costamesaca.gov for more info.
  • January 2019 – CERT Train-the-Trainer course in Contra Costa County hosted by the San Ramon Valley Fire Department.  Email Danielle Bell at DBell@srvfire.ca.gov for more info.



G288 and G489 Course Deliveries

As you may know, California is the lead agency in California for Volunteer and Donations Management during a Disaster.  Two core trainings for managing volunteer and donations during disasters include the G288 Volunteer and Donations Management and G489 Management of Spontaneous Volunteers during a disaster courses.  CaliforniaVolunteers has received training funds from Cal OES and will be conducting these courses as a combined 2-day course in the following counties:




CERT Workshop – CERT and 501(c)(3)

Earlier this year we held a CERT workshop on disaster response.  CaliforniaVolunteers is currently planning some workshops around CERT and 501(c)(3) where we will discuss current best practices.  These will be scheduled early in 2019.  If your program has a 501(c)(3) and you consider yourself a subject matter expert please let me know.  FEMA may also hold a nation webinar on CERT and 501(c)(3) and we will be looking for presenters for this webinar.



Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program

Anita Chant, who has been the Program Manager for the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program for many years, is retiring on November 2, 2018.  Don Glueckert at Cal OES will be taking over the program.  You can reach Don at Donald.Glueckert@CalOES.ca.gov.  The DSW Volunteer program will also be moving from the Preparedness Branch over to the Human Resources.  If you are interested in sending Anita a card, you can send it to:


Ca Office of Emergency Services

Attn:  Anita Chant – Preparedness Branch

3650 Schriever Avenue

Mather, CA 95655


There will be people at OES who will make sure Anita gets the cards even if they arrive after her retirement.



CaliforniaVolunteers has recently started working with a company called Sigma. Sigma is a free platform for organizations to track the qualifications and achievements of their members. CERT programs can use this as a free platform to track volunteer activity such as training, events, and deployments. We will test this system by using it to track CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manger participants over the next few months. If you are taking one of these classes, you will receive a Sigma “Merit” from our office showing that you have taken these classes. If this system works well we may retroactively insert past course participants into this system.

If you are interested in learning more about Sigma or using it for your CERT program, you can visitwww.sig.ma, or email Taylor Robinson at taylor@sig.ma.




Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company, recently offered to build a free App for CERT programs to use.  They are committed to getting this app ready to launch (likely in beta format) at the CERT conference in May 2019.  FEMA has approved this project and has designated our office to be the lead on this project.  I will be gathering a group of CERT SMEs throughout the US to help give input on what this app should be and do to be useful for CERT.  This app will be open source and free and will not include the name Lockheed Martin.  It will also not include CERT or FEMA as FEMA is not paying or entering into a contract with Lockheed for this app.  This also means the app can be designed to benefit other volunteer groups such as Fire Corps or VOAD groups and what not.  If you would like to be part of the initial discussions (likely a few conference calls to brainstorm), please complete this survey.  If you think you are an IT savvy and want to be part of this effort beyond the initial brainstorming please note it on the survey.  Please note that while the brain storming calls should be able to include anyone, I will have to limit the participants for the actual project, especially since I have to include people outside CA.






Bay Area CERT Coalition

Several CERT programs in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area have joined to form a Bay Area CERT Coalition.  This group meetings quarter to share information, discuss how they can work together, and share information, training, and resources.  If you are interested in learning or want to join, please contact Maggie Lang at coordinator@marincountycert.org.



Los Angeles County CERT Council

The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management is working with LA County CERT programs to create a LA County CERT Council.  If your program is in LA County and you would like to join this council or learn more, please email Chris Foster at chfoster@ph.lacounty.gov for more information.



You are the Help Until Help Arrives Training

FEMA released a new 3-hour training called You are the Help Until Help Arrives last year.  This class focuses on teaching participants 5 key steps that can save a life during an emergency:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Stay Safe
  • Stop the Bleeding
  • Position the Injured
  • Provide Comfort

You can download the training materials here:  https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives.  This class was delivered at the National CERT Conference in Florida and had great reviews.


Prep Talks

In 2018, FEMA started a series of videos called Preptalks.  Basically Ted talks except the subject is always preparedness/emergency management related.  You can view the list of Preptalks here:  https://www.fema.gov/preptalks



Things you should already know but in case you didn’t

  • The FEMA website is www.ready.gov/CERT.  The FEMA website has all the training materials and videos available for download.  This includes advanced modules as well as information on reducing liability, working with Schools and Private Sector, and other great resources
  • You can request CERT manuals and other training materials free from FEMA.  You will need to be a registered program and the request should come from the contact person listed on the registration.  Requests take 4-6 weeks for fulfillment.  It is a good practice to email FEMA 2-3 weeks after submitting a request to get a status update and to make sure they received your request.  Here is the link for FEMA publications:  https://www.ready.gov/publications.  On this page, you will see links to two order forms.  The Individual and Community Preparedness form will have CERT related documents.  The Ready Materials form is for general preparedness materials.
  • FEMA has a catalogue of CERT related webinars that they have conducted in the past.  You can find these webinars here:  https://www.ready.gov/webinars.  This is very useful for newer CERT program managers as well as for long time program managers that did not get a chance to be on these webinars.
  • If you missed the CERT Disaster Workshop in April, 2017, you can view parts of it here: https://icpd.adobeconnect.com/p5r7o0e03wrw/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal.  This recording includes an update from FEMA as well as a presentation by Anita Chant on the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program (which starts at around the 48-minute mark).
  • If you need a copy of the CERT logo in hi res vector format (or regular JPG) please send me an email at suuva.tai@caloes.ca.gov.  We used to have this up on the CaliforniaVolunteers website but we migrated servers recently and have not restored those pages yet.  You used to be able to get it from the FEMA CERT website after logging in but I do not see that available on the new website yet.