The next Community Emergency Response Team training course will begin on Wednesday, Oct.17, and will consist of six sessions, offered at no charge to New Canaan residents or those working in New Canaan.

The course will take place on four Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 17 and 24, Nov. 7 and 14, and two Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 3 and Nov. 17.

CERT teaches people how to take care of themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event of an emergency or a disaster. During major disasters, local emergency responders can become overwhelmed by the demand for help or can be delayed in attending to the community's needs. CERT members are taught basic response skills, which could help save or sustain life, until emergency responders are available.

The concept of CERT was originally developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department, and was promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the 1990s for communities across the country.

CERT is now under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security and is one of several programs that make up the Citizen Corps.

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In addition to basic disaster preparedness, the course covers fire safety and suppression, triage, emergency medical operations, terrorism and light search and rescue. As a joint training program with Wilton, the classes are taught by New Canaan and Wilton emergency services personnel, with other instructors as topic specialists. Class locations will alternate between the two towns.

CERT graduates can become part of New Canaan's emergency deployment pool, and help the town's first responders in the event of a disaster. CERT members are also deployed at special events by the emergency services, when extra resources are needed for public safety.

Registration for the six-session course is required. To enroll, visit for registration forms. Questions can be directed to