The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees.
The first CERT training was advertised in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald on November 13, 2003. Bob Hessler and Jeanie Knudtson were among those that attended the classes that weekend. However, nothing was done to organize our own CERT team here in the Scotts Bluff County area until August 2006 when Bob Hessler took the initiative and offered a CERT training to the community. We have been going strong ever since. We have dedicated trainers who have given classes in Scottsbluff, Alliance, Sidney, Chadron and Crawford. To date our trainers have prepared 140 citizens in Community Emergency Response.