Hey CERT Trainers!


A New Piece of Gear For Your Kit!

If you’re in charge of putting on neighborhood CERT meetings, you know what a challenge it is!

A good meeting pumps up the energy and attracts new members. A poor meeting – well, you can lose members overnight!

So searching for good meeting ideas goes on . . . and on.

Over the past 10 years, Joe and I have been either on the front lines or behind the scenes, planning meetings for our neighborhood group. That’s well over 100 meetings!

It recently occurred to me that buried in my computer is a treasure trove. I dug in, pulled together my notes, and wrote up some of the ideas for meetings that we’ve held successfully.

CERT Meeting Ideas, Emergency Plan Guide

From the trenches . . .!

Our best ideas have now been assembled into a 55 page ebook called CERT Meeting Ideas.

The ideas seem to have worked. We’ve had as many as 60 volunteer members in our community, and our teams have responded to five major emergencies (mostly construction related). We have received awards from the Mayor and local First Responders for our efforts.

What makes a good meeting?

Now, Joe and I are not professionally trained CERT instructors. But we know from business experience that good meetings have to have some valuable content, a delivery method that’s effective for your group, and, of course, a setting that works for both.

That’s what we’ve tried to put into every meeting.

Content is easy.

When it comes to emergency planning, there’s plenty of content. You can just page through the training manual and come up with stuff to learn more about on every page.

But we have learned, also from our business experience, that people resist being “taught.”

What they seem to want is to “experience” an activity so that it reinforces appropriate behavior in response to an emergency!

So it’s the delivery method that’s the bigger challenge.

Over our years of providing training, we have tried all kinds of methods, with these topping the list.

  • We have had guest speakers, and guest speakers with power point slide shows.
  • Neighbors have volunteered to get up and “show and tell” about a particular piece of emergency equipment.
  • We’ve watched videos featuring official CERT groups, professional industry association members and product manufacturers.
  • Getting outside onto the street, practicing finding and reporting on “emergencies,” is a lot of fun for active volunteers.
  • Kicking back in a social setting is also essential.

Finally, the setting has to work.

Our group has met in a variety of meeting rooms, in a temporary construction trailer, outside in a parking lot or on the street, and in people’s living rooms and driveways.

So, if you, like us, are looking for more ideas . . .

Based on discussions with some CERT alumni, and comments from online Facebook and LinkedIn groups, it seems that other trainers are searching, too.

If you’re responsible for planning meetings, I think you’ll like the detail. I list everything you’ll need and some places to find those speakers and that equipment. I describe how some activities were particularly well-received, and how some took some easing into!

The book isn’t free – but at $10 it’s close to free, and we will use the money to continue with more of our volunteer efforts. Find out more here.


Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team


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