Cobb County’s Community Emergency Response Training

The Railroad Disaster to the West India Mail Near Blackshear, Georgia, an engraving from a photograph published in Harper's Weekly, March 1888

Would you like to learn how to prepare for a disaster, to help yourself and others during that crisis, and to recover once the emergency is over?  Would you like to receive the training necessary to be of genuine help to disaster victims and first responders in the event of an emergency?  If so, there is a three-part training program that could give you valuable skills.  Cobb County’s Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) will be held on Saturdays Jan. 13, 20 and 27, 9 a.m – 5 p.m. at the Cobb County Emergency Operations Center, 140 North Marietta Parkway, Marietta.

You must be at least 16 years old and attend all three sessions to be certified in the program.

Bernard King, Cobb County’s Public Program Coordinator, who is also a FEMA and GEMA instruction trainer, told the Courier,”The program itself is 21 hours covering eight units.”

King said the training will help community members plan for and respond to emergencies.

He said some crises, like being caught in an active shooter situation are of low likelihood. “You’re more likely to get struck by lightning today than you’re ever going to find yourself in an active shooter event.”

But some disasters are much likelier to affect people in the communities.  He said, “What is the number one threat we all face in the way of disasters? Fires. Wherever we live, work, worship, everywhere we go there could be a fire. How do you plan?  How do you respond?  How do you recover from that? If you make a plan, if you create an awareness about it, and you decide how you’re going to respond before it ever occurs, then you’ve worked it out a little bit in your brain, and your learning curve is not as big.”

He said the training emphasizes taking care of yourself prior to helping neighbors so that the help you can give them is more effective.

“Once I have helped you help yourself, then you’re better equipped when your humanity calls during a disaster, to help other people.  You’re more likely to leave folks behind at home that are going to be able to care for themselves. We try to get people in the mindset that once you get this training the truest, utmost unselfish act that you can do is to take care of number one first, because if number one is okay, then you can start taking care of other people.  (If) you start getting compromised, then there’s somebody that’s got to care for you.”

According to the county’s press release:

The CERT program trains people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.

To register, please visit If you have questions, contact Bernard King at or 770-499-4568.