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CERT volunteers plan car show
clubbing CERT
Manteca CERT volunteers are shown how to employ a technique known as cribbing to help free a victim trapped by debris. - photo by Photo Contributed

Your neighbor might one day save your life.

Members of one of Manteca’s volunteer organizations  are capable of doing that and more.

It’s the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) under the umbrella of the Manteca Fire Department.

Over the years Manteca residents trained as CERT volunteers have:

usaved the life of an elderly resident in the early stages of heat stroke during a sweltering August heat wave when they were pressed into service by Manteca public safety personnel to conduct door-to-door safety checks in age –restricted mobile home parks.

uprovided assistance at serious automobile accidents in Manteca and elsewhere before the arrival of emergency personnel.

uanswered the call from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with relief efforts in the aftermath of Katrina and other major hurricanes.

ubeen able to put the skills they learn to help accident victims in remote locations where emergency personnel have a long response time as did one Manteca woman CERT member while assisting a man cut up in blades in a personnel watercraft accident in the middle of Don Pedro Lake. She and others stopped from bleeding out while he was taken to shore and 11 miles of the nearest medical facility.

umanned incoming phone lines at the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services headquarters during last month’s levee break south of Manteca.

That is just a short list of how CERT volunteers enhance public safety. They also have been deployed to assist looking for missing youth and elderly, to asset with traffic control at major incidents ranging from hostage situations to parades, and step up to do volunteer at community events running the gamut from street fairs to fun runs.

The Manteca CERT is gearing up for a free training class on emergency preparedness that starts Thursday, April 6, at the Manteca District Ambulance headquarters on Center Street. It takes place six consecutive Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and a final class on a Saturday.

The class is sponsored by FEMA. After completing the course, students have the option of joining the Manteca CERT.

To register for the class or for questions about CERT or the class call John Van Fossen at 609.7828 or Ray at 612.7506. 

CERT members — once trained and certified — obtain a backpack with basic emergency equipment in it such as goggles, a multi-use tool that can be used for everything from a hammer, to smashing windows, to turning off gas valves, a hard hat, along with duct tape, first aid supplies and more that they carry with them in their vehicles. Volunteers add to the equipment as they see fit.

For more information on CERT, go to the city’s website at, click on the fire department page and then click on Join the Team and then click on Community Emergency Response Team.

The CERT team is one of five volunteer groups providing more than 200 volunteers that assist the Manteca Police and Manteca Fire departments. The others are Seniors Helping Area Residents & Police (SHARP), Seniors Aiding Fire Effort (SAFE), Police Explorers, and Fire Explorers.

The CERT movement was an outgrowth of the Los Angeles Fire Department recognizing there is a need for properly trained citizens to supplement emergency crews in major disasters. During earthquakes people often offer to help but had no idea how to do so properly without putting themselves and others in danger.

In addition to the upcoming free emergency preparedness classes, CERT is staging a car show to raise money for their efforts on the second day of the Crossroads Street Fair in downtown Manteca on Sunday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fee to enter a car in the show is $20 in advance or $25 the day of the event.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email