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Program Top Stories

The Citizen Corps Good Stories provides a state online network of lessons learned and best practices designed to help emergency response providers and homeland security officials prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards.

Citizen Corps is constantly working to improve citizen and community preparedness by identifying and promoting good stories and lessons learned. The Good Stories showcases innovative and exemplary Citizen Corps programs from all disciplines. Lessons Learned identify and share lessons learned from the actual experience of Citizen Corps volunteers from around the state. Both Good Stories and Lessons Learned provide ideas from which other Citizen Corps Programs, Partners, and Affiliates can develop their own initiatives.

Story Guidelines:

    • Please send your submissions by the 15th of each month.
    • Submissions should be under 150 words.
    • If you include photos, please send as an attachment (not in the body of the message.)
    • Don’t forget to tell us who is in the photo, where and when it was taken, and what it shows. All photos must be approved for publishing before submitting.

Featured Stories

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) To The Rescue

Villages First Responders Class

Pictured above are CERT Members Clara Hicks, Carmen West, Kim Malave and our unidentified victim.


CERT volunteers have been trained by the Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Section in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) CERT Course. This course contains basic search and rescue, basic first aid, fire suppression, weather observation and additional topics. CERT training is held one night a week for nine weeks. Our job is to help ourselves, our neighbors and our county during times when the first responders are overwhelmed with calls during any incident such as hurricane, tornadoes or flooding.

On the 23rd of March, 2013 The Citrus County CERT teams were activated for a search and rescue drill. The scenario was that three youth groups comprised of 4-H members, Scouts and Explorers were camping in the woods behind the County Extension Office in Lecanto, Fl. Early on the morning of the 23rd storms hit the area accompanied by straight line winds. This caused damage to the area. After a head count, it was determined 23 victims were unaccounted for. The Sheriff's Department was contacted and CERT was activated.

All four quadrants, the Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast sent teams to the drill area. At the drill site a Command Center and Communication Center was established along with a triage area. The teams formed up and a briefing covering communications protocol and search area assignments were reviewed.

The teams were sent out to their assigned search area. Over the next two hours the teams found and treated all 23 victims, had them transported to triage for further treatment and if needed, transported to local medical facilities (simulated). The CERT drill was ended and viewed a success. For many, this was a first time we had an outdoor drill.

An after Action de-briefing was held to evaluate how the people involved in the drill felt about it and what they observed during the drill. Areas that need strengthening were discussed. These will be addressed in future training exercises.

Our communications set up was a combined effort with CERT and Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES). ARES members acted as perimeter security and manned the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to act as a relay for requests for transportation of recovered patients. Our Communications Supervisor was Joe Calzaretta. Jerry Dixon and Ed Koch manned the EOC during the drill. Joe and Jerry also teach the amateur radio (ham) radio courses that have resulted in over 75 CERT members becoming amateur radio licensed or have upgraded their licenses.

The drill today was a chance to practice our training in an outdoor environment. If CERT sounds interesting and you would like more information contact our website at or Gerry Brummer 352-382-4446. (Article by Gloria Wells and Ron King, 04/25/2013)

HRDF Post-Event Report Community Emergency Response Team [CERT] In Action

Aquin, Haiti - Tropical Storm "Isaac" - August 24-26, 2012

Villages First Responders Class

Aquin CERT member, mobilized with motorcycle, vest and first-aid pack talks with resident about precautions against the advancing storm, "Isaac."  Note household toilet in background is already surrounded by standing water from a previous rainstorm.


The Haitian Resource Development Foundation <> was founded in 1987 and is based in Aquin on Haiti's south-central Caribbean coast.  HRDF is an advocate and acknowledged leader for education, training and mobilization for emergency medical technology [EMT] and community emergency response teams [CERT], both being essential in disaster-prone small island states such as Haiti.  For many years, HRDF's physicians and instructors, many of them from overseas universities, hospitals and emergency management organizations, have provided continuing education in emergency fields for Haitian police, firemen, medical and rescue personnel. 

Three years ago, HRDF assembled and began to train a CERT for Aquin, the first of its kind in Haiti.  Weekend sessions are held periodically, with subjects ranging from first aid, search and rescue, life support, mass-casualty response, transport and evacuation, community alerts, environmental and bio-surveillance and post-disaster assessment. With the approach of Tropical Storm "Isaac," Haiti's Ministry of Health and Population [MSPP] requested the services of Aquin's CERT.  The purpose was to alert the residents, provide comfort, guidance and reliable advice, assist with storm preparations, be on-call during the storm passage, and then respond as needed to injuries and property damage.  All of this takes into account that Aquin is a vulnerable coastal city and commune typical of dozens that face the sea, with their backs to Haiti's steep hills and mountainsides.  Especially during severe weather events, these conditions pose significant threats from storm surges, landslides and flashfloods.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management CERT/Citizen Corps Program Office was crucial in the planning and training process prior to the storm impact. If you would like to support this CERT Program located in Aquin, Haiti, please contact Peggy Cadeaux at or 850-413-9966.

2012 CERT Training at the Villages

Villages First Responders Class

Event overview.


Annual CERT Training (ACT) drills here in The Villages.  We developed 12 modules for use as training aids (in addition to the topics listed below, we also have: 

Patient Assessment
Profuse Bleeding

All of our 300+ CERT members must be refreshed in these modules at least once every 2 years.  In addition, we have one open training session per month, where members are encouraged to attend (these include such topics as: Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, CERT Leadership Skills, Infectious Diseases, Heart Attack & Stroke Awareness). (08/28/2012)

2012 CERT Workshop and Training

Villages First Responders Class

Over 80 Program Managers throughout the State of Florida participated in the 2012 CERT Workshop and Training. The Citizen Corps Office delivered the L428 CERT Train-the-trainer at the International Palms Resort in Orlando, FL. As the current State CERT/Citizen Corps Program Coordinator, I would like to thank every Floridian who volunteered to make this workshop a success. Let’s continue to engage the whole community in preparedness activities so that we can show the world how Florida citizens prepare for major disasters. Peggy Cadeaux, Coordinator (08/03/2012)

Helicopter Transport Presentation

Villages First Responders Class

On Wednesday, the 1st of August, 2012, the flight crew of Tampa General Hospital's Wildwood, Fl based AeroMed III gave a presentation on establishing a landing zone to members of CERT of The Villages. Following the presentation two "victims" were strapped to backboards and a practice drill  to load a patient for transport was executed by the CERT members. (08/03/2012)

Villages First Responders Class

Villages First Responders Class

After 14 months of classes and drills, 16 members of CERT of The Villages completed the U.S. Department of Transportation First Responder course. Additionally, Instructor Larry Turner, who has 25 years of EMT skills, taught advanced life savings techniques for emergency situations. Each graduate was awarded a certificate of completion on April 28th, 2011 by class Captain Bill Pyle. Pictured from rear left to right: John Bartelink, Tom Connors, Tony Curtis, Dwight Gardstrom, Wayne Ward, Lyle Richard, Bill Pyle, Front left to right: Sally Brynes, Kathy Francoeur, Mary Hall, Steph Starnes, Phyllis Hunter, Karen Stroman, George Silva. Not Pictured: Stanly Golove and Bud Quackenbush

Eagles Scout Project Benefits Local CERT

Josh giving thank you Tarps and Posts

Joshua Joyner from Troop 645 in the Gulf Coast Council located in Pensacola has just completed his Eagle Scout project which will benefit local CERT programs. And in true scouting form, he did a wonderful job with managing his overall project and graciously provided a thank you certificate to BRACE for the collaboration on the project.  The new barricade posts and triage tarps will be put into use at our next CERT class disaster simulation drill being held on Saturday, September 25th during our Youth Emergency Preparedness EXPO: YEP Kids Save Lives, Too! The event while be during National Preparedness Month and involve many Citizen Corps Programs, Partners and Affiliates. (08/30/2010)

City of Pensacola CERT held first CERT Class Graduation

Twenty students participated in final CERT class disaster simulation drill on July 20th, 2010.  In addition to the new CERTs, the City of Pensacola Citizen Corps Council and our Escambia County Medical Reserve Corps assisted with the drill by serving in the role as Evaluators and as disaster victim actors for the event.  While taking a break from the oil spill work, the NCCC VISTA team got a chance to “play” in the disaster simulation, too. The event was held at Bayview Community Center in Pensacola and since this city park also includes a dry land and water Dog Park, it was great fun to include a puppy in our drill as well. View the CERT Summer 2010 Class Graduation (pdf). (08/30/2010)


2008 Broward County CERT Volunteer Awards Luncheon

The Fire Chiefs’ Association of Broward County’s "Broward Area CERT Coordinators Committee" officially announces the "2008 South Florida Community Emergency Response Team Volunteer Awards Luncheon" on Saturday, November 15th from 12:00PM – 3:00PM at the Signature Grand in Davie. 

This event provides the Broward Area CERT Coordinators’ Committee the opportunity to acknowledge CERT volunteers from across South Florida for their contributions to our communities.  Each CERT Program Coordinator will have an opportunity to recognize one of their volunteers.  The volunteer of your selection will receive an award from the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Broward County.  Of the volunteers recognized, the Broward Area CERT Coordinators will select the one volunteer that stands out above all others as the South Florida CERT Volunteer of the Year.  Last year’s recipient was Robin Burns of Pompano Beach.  Luncheon Announcement | Attendee Registration Form | Volunteer Nomination Form

To Realistic for the Faint - Orange County 2008 CERT Drill

Her head wound was made-up so realistically, that the rescuers hesitated in approaching her. Fortunately, the graduates of CERT are familiar with a time saving system for evaluating levels of trauma... More About the Orange County 2008 CERT Drill (PDF)

Lealman Fire District Hurricane Conference

Dear CERT Community,

The Lealman Fire District's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is proud to partner with Saint Petersburg College to host the first ever Hurricane Conference dedicated to training CERT members on skills needed before, during and after a hurricane strikes your community! ... Read Full Story (PDF) | Read Full Flyer (PDF)

Santa Rosa On the Move

Not often do we see a government program succeed as intended, but in the case of the inception of the Citizen Corps program we can proudly say our tax dollars are working for the people that paid them ... Read Full Story

Miami-Dade Preparedness Fair

Miami-Dade County, FL – Miami-Dade Citizens Corps and Wal-Mart stores are holding a Public Safety Day event on Saturday, March 22, 2008 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store, 15885 S.W. 88 St. in Miami. The free event will promote public safety and awareness issues, best practices for family security during emergencies, and community preparedness ... Read Full Story

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


In any major disaster, emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone right away. What would you do if you had no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service? Having a plan for your family and their needs will help ensure their safety and comfort during these difficult times. A well thought-out plan of action for you and your family can go a long way toward reducing the damage from tornados, wildfires, severe thunderstorms and flooding that could strike the state of Florida.

Get Your Family Plan Today! | Get Your Business Plan Today!


July 20, 2017 9:02