Who we are: Manchester's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group of volunteer Manchester residents, organized under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines. Team members undergo an initial training period requiring one evening a week for two months; and a half-day graduation exercise on a weekend. Thereafter, CERT teams meet several times a year for additional training and exercises. Team members undergo background checks and are issued official photo ID's by the Town of Manchester, protective gear and a jump kit of emergency supplies.During emergencies such as natural disasters or widespread power outages that block roads or overwhelm public safety services, the team members gather at local staging points within their communities and perform light fire suppression, damage assessment, triage and first aid, search and rescue, until the usual first responders are able to get through. In addition to the usual FEMA training, the Manchester CERT team trains for regional emergency operations and acts of terrorism because of the proximity to the Hartford Capitol Region. Manchester is a member of the Capitol Region Emergency Planning Committee (CREPC), a 41 member town/regional LEPC. The objective is to provide trained citizens to assist members of their neighborhoods in the event of a major disaster as well as a pool of volunteers to help staff Emergency Operations Centers and shelters.During widespread emergencies, normal communications methods are often overwhelmed. A number of CERTs are also members of Manchester's Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EmComm) Team. Using their own amateur radio equipment, they provide communications support between the CERT teams in the field and the town's Office of Emergency Management. Emcomm members are also FEMA RACES radio operators, who can be activated by state
or municipal officials when an emergency is declared. They are trained to man radio stations in municipal facilities such as EOC's, shelters, and fire houses.Several Manchester CERTs are also members of the Manchester Mountain Bike Search and Rescue Team (MBSAR). The MBSAR provides Search and Rescue teams in the event of a lost or injured person in Manchester's Case Mountain Recreational Area, roughly 400+ acres of trails through heavily wooded and mountainous terrain.