Community Emergency Response Team Training will be offered soon!

Shamika Ossey and Sharon Sylvers, both PHNs with SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles, made a vision a reality when they started the Watts CERT program several years ago.  They took the CERT or Community Emergency Response Team training, became certified instructors and now teach the 17 hour course in the Watts area of LA.  As public health nurses they recognized that areas, like Watts, could the one of the last areas emergency responders went to during a disaster. President Obama honored their work several times during his administration.

While their Union takes on structural racism and works continuously to lead an antiracist labor movement, Shamika and Sharon have trained hundreds of their community members. Sharing that vision the Nurse Alliance of SEIU California began a partnership with Watts CERT and started hosting trainings to our nurse members.  UCLA LOSH (Labor Occupational Safety and Health) quickly caught on and became partners as well and hosted trainings to low wage workers in the Los Angeles area.  Even employers, like LA County Department of Public Health, recognized the importance of having PHNs certified as community emergency responders and hosted a training in 2020.  We recognize that nurses, but mostly public health nurses, are already considered first responders to disasters, whether that is a pandemic, earthquake or wild fire.

Now it’s time to ramp that partnership up again.  Plans are in the works to develop a hybrid training where nurses can do the classroom work remotely and then the NA of CA can host much smaller in-person classes for the hands-on portion of the training.  (COVID has once again changed the way we do things, but not stop us from moving forward!)   Please watch this great video to show you just a snapshot of what Watts CERT is and how nurses can get involved.  Then keep an eye out for the announcement for full CERT trainings in the near future.  An intro to CERT and our partnership will also be added to our Educational Library soon.

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