Community programs: Firewise and CERT

by | Dec 11, 2021 | 2021 Wildfire Advent

People in neon CERT vests

Photo by Rohini Tomar


If you want to go beyond protecting your house from wildfire, and help your community to prepare, there’s some good news.

Community organizing takes commitment and hard work. But it can be a lot of fun, and, in the case of wildfire preparedness, there’s help to be had. There may even be programs already in your community you can tap into. Two of these are Firewise and CERT.

Firewise USA

Firewise USA logo

The Firewise USAⓇ program from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) helps a group of neighbors get organized and take action to protect their homes, reduce local wildfire risk, and prepare for wildfire together. The program provides a structured process and materials for the community to work through.

Participation in the program is free. Once Firewise® certified, community residents may even get a discount on their insurance!

Get your community on the path to join the 1,976 communities currently Firewise® certified! If you’re in California, check with your local Fire Safe Council, if there is one.


CERT logo

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is a federal program, promoted by FEMA, and sponsored locally, usually by a fire department or office of emergency services. CERT provides standardized training to prepare individuals to supplement local response efforts in a disaster. Training covers basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Additionally, some CERT groups also conduct community preparedness training and projects.

Training is free. Volunteers even get a nifty hard hat, vest and backpack with supplies!

Check with your local emergency services agency to see if there’s a CERT program that can help you to get your community wildfire ready!


If you know of other programs that systematically help communities to prepare to help themselves, we would love to hear about them.

Hey, wait, what about Creative Crisis Leadership?

Thank you for asking!

We strive to prepare communities to be unprepared. Disaster rarely happens as expected. Even the best preparations miss the mark. Even the well-prepared are caught unprepared.

Our goal is to supplement community-based preparedness programs with fun and engaging immersive community learning experiences. We develop and test these learning experiences to inspire people to prepare, and foster the mindsets and skills they need to improvise when they find themselves unprepared.

To ensure that our learning experiences are relevant and meet community needs, we work with community partners, such as Firewise and CERT, throughout our process.

Please get in touch if you know of an organization or community that would like to help us to develop and test a Wildfire Learning Experience in 2022.


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