Press Release

For Immediate Release


July 9, 2019 — The New York City Emergency Management Department is adding a new group of volunteers to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. Forty new volunteers graduated Monday from the 10-session training program and will now support their local communities by assisting City agencies that prepare for and respond to emergencies.

“Emergency preparedness is a whole community approach. Today’s graduation shows that New Yorkers are ready to answer the call to assist their families, friends, and neighbors in a crisis,” New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said. “I look forward to working alongside these dedicated men and women of the CERT volunteer program.”

“The women and men who volunteer their time to become CERT members are a true asset to the communities we serve,” Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said.  “The FDNY is proud to continue to take part in this important program and train New Yorkers to serve their city when needed most.”

During the ceremony, New York City Emergency Management also presented Manhattan 6 CERT with the NYC CERT Deployment award. The award recognizes a community emergency response team that has exhibited exceptional dedication to assisting their fellow New Yorkers during emergencies. Over the past two years, Manhattan 6 CERT demonstrated a strong history of deploying for planned and unplanned events including the 2018 residential high-rise fire on Audubon Avenue where they assisted residents at the City’s reception center.

NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell, along with NYPD Auxiliary Deputy Inspector Phylis Byrne and FDNY Deputy Chief James Brosi, presided over the graduation ceremony held in the Emergency Operations Center at NYC Emergency Management headquarters. This is the 34th training cycle since the New York City CERT program launched in 2003. The graduates participated in a 10-session training program, which began in May. The disaster preparedness and emergency response sessions included lessons in basic fire safety, search and rescue, traffic management, first aid and triage. This cycle’s training sessions were held in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Cycle 35 will begin in October in Brooklyn and Manhattan. To sign up for the training, visit

“We live in a huge city where localized emergencies are somewhat common,” Queens CERT graduate Jonathan Crespo said. “As CERT members our number one goal is to get New Yorkers ready by informing them about the hazards they face and sharing information they can use to prepare.”

“The CERT program provides the opportunity to network with individuals passionate about preparing our communities for emergencies,” Bronx CERT graduate Charles Keyes said. “The program gave me a sense of security knowing there are volunteers throughout the city willing and able to be deploy during an emergency.”

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) in New York City

The New York City CERT program started in 2003 with 106 volunteers. The new Cycle 34 CERT graduates will join more than 1,200 credentialed CERT volunteers representing more than 50 teams throughout New York City. The 40 graduates received training from a number of the city’s highly trained emergency responders, including 13 FDNY instructors, seven FDNY/EMS instructors, seven NYPD instructors, and eight NYC Emergency Management liaisons.   

For more information about the CERT program, or if you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, call 311 or visit Management.

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