Yakima County Volunteers & CERT

Volunteers (Emergency Workers) 

Yakima Valley Emergency Management Emergency Workers will have the opportunity to volunteer with Yakima Valley Emergency Management during disasters or normal office operations by responding to disasters, volunteering in our Emergency Operations Center, volunteering in our office, or assisting with public outreach events throughout the county. Check out some of the events that our members have attended in the past in the slideshow below. 

Registered Emergency Workers have completed basic training and the following:

Within one year after basic training, complete the following three online courses, at no cost (these require a FEMA SID):

  1. Introduction to Incident Command System (IS-100.b)
  2. ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents (IS-200.b)
  3. National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction (IS-700.a)

Each year, complete at least one continuing education activity. A variety of training opportunities (both independent online study and traditional classroom study) are available throughout the year.

Each year, participate in at least one approved training exercise.

Why? The goals of these initial and ongoing training and exercise requirements are to maintain your skills, expand your knowledge, keep you in touch with your fellow volunteers, and help you to discover emergency response functions and roles that match your interests and abilities. Above all, ongoing training helps to maximize our safety in the response environment.

“What’s in it for me?” Yes, we do ask that you take a serious approach to your volunteer participation, but commitment can be rewarding! We’re working on additional benefits for our active volunteers, including:

  • annual member celebrations
  • recognition awards for volunteer hours and milestones
  • Potential discounts with local supporting merchants


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.

Many citizens complete CERT basic training, then return to their private lives and have no further contact with our program. This is fine, and our community is more resilient, thanks to their willingness to receive training and increase preparedness in our region!

However, we encourage our CERT basic training graduates to remain active with our program, to pursue additional training and join opportunities to exercise your skills. We want you to become CERT Registered Emergency Workers!

CERT Members will need to go through the CERT Basic Course which is delivered in the community by a team of first responders, and other qualified volunteers. The organization and timing of training and meetings vary but  are often broken up into two to four hour blocks over a series of evenings or weekends.

Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.

Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.

Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.

Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.

Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.

Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.

Those interested in becoming a YCCERT member should contact Horace Ward at horace.ward@co.yakima.wa.us. CERT courses will be offered BI-Annually or at anytime the request of large groups such a churches or other volunteer organizations. 

If you would like to learn more about CERT you are welcome to take IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams which you can access by following this link: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-317 (this course is free as are all courses hosted by the Emergency Management Institute but you will need to follow the directions to obtain a student ID before taking these courses)