East Lake Community Emergency Response Team supports the public safety initiatives in the North Pinellas County Florida area and is made up completely of volunteers from in and around the Palm Harbor Florida area. Each volunteer brings different skills based on their various backgrounds.
East Lake CERT is a Florida State Charitable organization and recognized as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit company.
Our organization was founded as part of Citizen Corp's efforts to coordinate volunteer activity with the goal to make communities safer from the inside. CERT is one of the several programs established to train ordinary citizens to become an integral part of protecting the homeland and supporting local first responders.
East Lake CERT was founded in 2005 and was made up of a group of concerned citizens of the East Lake Florida area. After getting the initial action items compete, they began training other members of the East Lake Community. Today, we have grown to over 150 combined active and reserve members.
Current Board Leadership
The East Lake CERT Board of Directors is made up of members who have taken on leadership roles in the organization and are elected to the post. These positions include Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Corporate Secretary, and Parliamentarian Please visit our Board and BIO's page for our current elected Board of Directors.
Our Team is made up of several areas of specialization which allow us to be flexible during deployment. Some of these teams are Communications, Medical, Search and Rescue, and Training. The makeup of these teams allows us to focus our training to specific topics such as MCI training for Medical or USAR or WSAR training for Search and Rescue. Be sure to visit each of these sections on this site to view more about each team and what it takes to keep that team's training up to date.
Our members come from all walks of life with a common goal, to help the community in a time of need. These needs can vary from basic training on fire safety, emergency planning, and other dangers, to more involved disaster response training such as how to effectively use a fire extinguisher, advanced first aid, personal safety, and how to take command to lead your neighbors to a safer outcome during a major incident.
We have two types of members. The ones that like to be very involved who usually take leadership roles in the organization and others who would like to get the basic training which will help them step up in the event of a local emergency. These are called Active and Reserves.
During an event that impacts our communities, we will be called upon by either East Lake Fire Rescue to assist or we have the ability to self activate for other emergencies that we feel we can help with. These activation events might include assisting with evacuations, damage assessments after a major storm, traffic control, working PODs (Points of Distribution), VRC (Volunteer Reception Center) help, Search and Rescue efforts, and many others. Using an automated dialer system, the call will go out to our active members to report to the staging area. Once they arrive, the will be briefed on the mission and be deployed to the area of operation. We ask that all activated members report within 45 minutes of receiving the call to action.
Many of the activities that we do now are to insure we maintain a high state of readiness for an incident. This readiness is imperative to our goal of being able to support the East Lake Communities if called upon. To maintain the readiness, we train often. The training consists of a cycle including training, performing an exercise on what we learned, analyzing the results, fixing the process, and training more. This follows the HSEEP (Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program).
Many of our activities are conducted based on our team structure to insure that we have an opportunity to tighten our team members on the specialized teams. Some examples include:
Communications: Providing communications for all team activities, helping with local events that need communications support such as Make a Wish Foundation, ALS, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, and many others.
Search and Rescue (SAR): 2-3 day exercise consisting a full scale Search and Rescue of a group of victims that were scattered during a tornado while hiking .
Medical: This training might include supporting the SAR team by setting up a treatment area to provide care of incoming victims. Medical will also provide triage support for found victims during any Mass Casualty Incident (MCI).
We are very proud of the work that we do because we all get a sense of giving back and filling a need. But nothing says more than hearing stories that were direct impacts of our efforts. One story stands out:
After we graduated our CERT academy, one of the participants was walking with a fellow school mate when that person fell and hit their head. The trained CERT member jumped into action, realizing that the friend was unconscious. The member told another friend to go get help, fell back on her training and stabilized the victim, and with a cool head, was credited with turning a very bad situation around.
Many other stories exist in our team and other teams around the Nation.
Please feel free to reach out to us for more information about our team and our mission to support the East Lake and Palm Harbor area by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org