Neighborhood NewsGreat Falls - Cascade County


DES offers basic CERT class for disaster readiness

Cascade County Disaster & Emergency Services
Posted at 1:42 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 07:03:27-05

GREAT FALLS — Disaster can strike in many shapes and forms in Montana, from human caused to natural. Disaster and Emergency Services in counties across the Treasure State, prides itself on training and ready plan.

DES offers basic CERT class for disaster readiness

"We hold multiple training's throughout the year. We refer to those as ICS training's and to the command system training's, which is part of the FEMA and NIMS, National Incident Management System Training," Brad Call shared, Director of Emergency Management Services for Cascade County. "They came out so far back as the seventies, but it's really been implemented since 9-11, this is something that a fire departments and law enforcement have been using for years."

The primary focus of the ICS and NIMS training is to ensure that County employees are up to speed on their responsibilities in the event of an emergency. Whether its criminal or weather, Montana is susceptible to natural weather events, including high winds, ice jams, that lead to flooding, and wildfires. A change in climate across the state has proven that wildfires can strike at any time of the year and vigilance can save a life.

"The number one thing I want people to understand and remember is preparedness. Being ready to face an emergency situation that you may not see coming or may not expect," said Call. "In DES, We always write those plans. We always think ahead... I try to prepare for those hard days in the downtime"

Cascade County Disaster and Emergency Services is offering a Basic CERT Class on April 20th to help build its emergency responder taskforce. CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team, is lead by community volunteers. Cascade County's CERT team is comprised of 30 members and 20 of them are active responding units.

"Sometimes when you have disasters — situations where First Responders are called into the field, a lot of times they're unable to meet every single qualification that they have... So, smaller things like traffic, sometimes that falls to CERT, or knocking on doors. There's a lot of things that CERT can do, they're very well qualified for," explained Call.

April's Basic CERT Class will cover seven categories of emergency response including basic first aid, disaster psychology, and fire safety and utility controls. Oftentimes, CERT is recognized at the Montana State Fair to provide first aid to visitors in need of assistance that is not and EMT. CERT is comprised of community members looking to give back to the community in multiple ways and complete important and sometimes thankless jobs.

If you are looking to find resources on how to educate you or your family on disasters, FEMA offers free online courses to stay prepared.

Upon completion of the Basic CERT Class in April, you will be welcomed to the team, but will be required to stay up to date on other training in 20 hour classroom sessions. The free, eight unit course is spread over nearly a three day period.

On April 20, 2023, the Basic CERT Class is offered from 8am-5pm at the Cascade County DES Office located at 521 1st Ave NW in Great Falls. For other questions contact Brad Call at 406-454-6900.

To register for the April class, click here. Other resources are available at