Cert Class Is Where the Government Teaches Prepping

Uncle Sam wants you to be a survivalist

Based on bulletins and leaked memos from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, the general public tends to assume that the government does not look favorably on preppers. The logic is that if people are resilient and self-sufficient, they will be less dependent on the authorities, and therefore both less susceptible to (and less tolerant of) attempts to control them.

This may well be accurate at the federal law enforcement level, but the attitude is substantially different at the state and county level, where emergency management departments are usually underfunded, understaffed, and the scapegoats for poor planning by politicians. When their communities are targeted by hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, forest fires, or even terrorist attacks, these local departments are responsible for the welfare of thousands - or even millions - of citizens. This is an impossible task at the best of times, and even more so when communications and utilities are interrupted and first responders are overwhelmed.

It's in the wake of disasters, both natural and man-made, that local emergency management teams need people in the community who can take care of themselves (and maybe even their neighbors). This is why the CERT program was developed. Athough ostensibly under the purview of FEMA (check out this PSA that was released from a collaboration between FEMA and the "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" movie), it is administered by local municipalities.

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. Training is usually free and open to the public. The standard 8-class curriculum includes lessons on mass-casualty event triage and trauma care, preparing a home or office against chemical and biological attacks, search and rescue procedures, and emergency communications. The content is so good that a variety of internet salesmen repackage it and sell it as "secret prepper guides," but it's all available for free, usually at the county level.

The objective of CERT training is to develop a decentralized network of community members with basic skills who can be activated in the aftermath of an emergency. In theory, this team of capable civilians can serve as a stopgap until the authorities are able to swoop in and clean up the mess. This concept of "being your own first responder" will be familiar to anyone who has dipped a toe into survivalist or preparedness circles, as will the idea of an unofficial response team.

Normally, there is no service obligation associated with CERT training. You can take the class, maybe even get some free gear, and never talk to the teachers again. But, if you choose to join the local CERT team, you'll have to access to additional training, and probably get to meet some interesting, like-minded people.

For anyone looking to expand their skills in a way that can't be criticized by the security apparatchiks, CERT offers a wealth of well-organized, up-to-date training at an unbeatable price, and all with the official stamp of approval from local officials. You can find your local program here.