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Hamden CERT - History & Training

  Mentoring Programs

The CERT Program was started in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department. In 1993 FEMA made the program available nationwide. By 2003 CERT programs were offered in 45 states.


The Hamden Program started in 2004. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and instructs them in Basic Disaster Response Skills, such as: Fire Safety, Light Search & Rescue, Team Organization, & Basic First Aid & Disaster Medical Operations.


Using the 20 hours of training learned in the classroom and during exercises, FEMA CertifiedCERT Members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.


Following a major disaster, First Responders who provide fire and medical services will be unable to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as increased number of casualties, communication failures, road blockages and damaged infrastructures will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through dialing 911.


Our residents and visitors will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs. This is when and where FEMA Certified, CERT Volunteers would step up and provide our community with the emergency care and skills needed to help them stay safe until 1st Responders & additional services can be provided.

Community Training Program


 Service, Community


Tuesday, April 11, 2023 
Congratulations to the 1st Graduating Class of the
Quinnipiac UniversityCampus
CERT Program!

(QU, Also know as the home of the National, Division I Men's Hockey Champions!) 
Students get trained by Hamden Community Emergency Response Team!

Students recently took part in a training class run by Hamden Community Emergency Response Team for proper fire extinguishing in the Harwood Lot on the Mount Carmel Campus.

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The training is a direct result of a $4,000 university grant to establish an on-campus chapter of the Community Emergency Response Team. CERT is a federal program coordinated through FEMA. The university's on-campus chapter works in conjunction with Quinnipiac Public Safety, Hamden CERT and the Connecticut State Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

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Congratulation to the QU Students from our first Quinnipiac University Campus CERT Basic Training Class, on their achievement and graduation! Thank you to these 11 students who took the time from their busy schedules to attend evening classes over the last 7 weeks!

A special thanks goes out to Quinnipiac Dr. Tom Ellett, Chief Experience Officer, Quinnipiac Professor/Hamden CERT Member Jen Sacco who acted as our Team Liaison, Quinnipiac Administrative Lieutenant Don Distefano, Quinnipiac Public Safety Members along with our Hamden CERT Instructors: Dave Lewis and Deb DiLeone.

Thank you also to Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett and her staff for stopping by on Tuesday evening to support the students, during one of their last training drills!

We feel that with the dedication witnessed and wide field of training received by this group of students, this will be a legitimate resource for the university! Having FEMA Certified, Trained Students on the Quinnipiac Campus to recognize any precarious condition or situation they are trained to act and to notify the QU Public Safety Office or activate the 911 Notification System! Thank you again to Quinnipiac for providing the classroom, AV equipment and their support of this most beneficial program. We hope to see this program grow and look forward to another class soon.

February 3rd & 4th, 2023
Hamden CERT joins North Haven CERT with a 2 day class & certification for Mental Health First Aid Responders.  


Congratulations to 15 of our Hamden CERT Members along with our North Haven CERT Brothers and Sisters who completed the 8-hour certification class for Mental Health First Aid. Thank you for giving up a large part of your weekend to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health challenges that may impact many adults.

Thank you to our instructors Emily McCave PhD and Carol Awasu who covered all aspects of how to identify the impact of mental health and substance use challenges on the well-being of American adults.

A special thank you goes out to our Administrative Chief, Debbie DiLeone who coordinated and help prepare this class and to our Team Manager Dave Lewis, who along with the North Haven Team of Lou Coppolla, Michele Kinniston and John Marinuzzi who provided our classroom and provided us with Friday night dinner and a Saturday morning breakfast.

It is always an honor to work & train alongside our North Haven Partners. We are now qualified and better prepared for any individuals who may have experienced any loss, separation, displacement or other traumatic event.

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March 31, 2022 
Congratulations to our New Members from Hamden CERT Class #20! 

Congratulation to our Class #20 Students who graduated this evening after completing their 7 weeks of classroom and practical training. We thank them for their commitment and dedication and look forward to them joining us, at our future meetings, trainings and activations.

Welcome to our Team!

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Thursday, October 21, 2021 
Congratulations to Our Students from our 19th CERT Basic Class, that started on September 9th!  Now graduated, with their FEMA Certification, they are now ready to use the skills: "That Can Make a Difference! 
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April 18, 2021  
Congratulations to the Members of Hamden Class #18 on their Graduation! 

Congratulations to our newest members from Hamden CERT Class #18. Their graduation ceremony took place at the Dunbar Hill Fire Station #8. We thank them for their commitment and dedication in learning the skills needed to make a difference during any emergency or disaster.

This class that started their instruction during the COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions and had  their classes through a Virtual Format. We salute them on their determination and commitment to finish the class no-matter what was needed to complete their studies! We were delighted to complete the last evening of their training in person along with their graduation on the same evening. 


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Congratulations to the Members of Hamden Class #17 on their Class Completion & Certification: 
"Without a Graduation Ceremony!"

Our Hamden CERT Basic Class #17 was very unique to say the least. After starting their first 3 classes in person in March of 2020, we had to switch to virtual classes because of the national pandemic health emergency.

After the classes were completed, we had our Fire Extinguisher Training (under strict COVID Restrictions) and later gave them their Loyalty Oath in the parking lot of the Miller Library!

We’re sorry that we didn’t get a class picture but are just as proud of our new members for their integrity, during very tough times! 

Congratulations Team Members!

Hamden CERT Members were invited to a Special Training Session at Vinal Tech High School in Middletown on February 29, 2020. 

Note: "These kids were on the COVID-19 Pandemic, way before many news outlets and local governments! Congratulations Students!" 

Our Hamden CERT Members would like to thank our teammate Jay Cruickshank and his son Dave for a great information session today during our visit to Vinal Tech High School in Middletown, CT. Department Head, Dave Cruickshank is the Lead Instructor of the Criminal Justice and Emergency Management Program offered at Vinal Tech. It was an honor for 14 of our team members to meet with many of Dave’s Students who presented an outstanding demonstration of their personal capabilities and the equipment that allows them to produce all the charts, graphs and any information needed to manage any major incident that may occur. They were not only great kids but they are outstanding students who again volunteered their time, (on their days off) to organize this outstanding presentation. This was just another example of the many hours that they have volunteered to make this program flourish in only 3 years of operation!

As you can see by the pictures displayed, their EOC/Classroom would be the desire of any municipality, state run facility or emergency management team! These high school students who were selected to participate in this program displayed dedication and teamwork that was beyond anyone’s imagination! After a full tour of the facility and equipment used, we were given an up to date handout and presentation of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Incident, that has drawn our attention over the last few weeks and could have an impact for us in the future. This is just one example of the many training sessions that our Hamden CERT Members participate in, on a regular basis to keep us well-informed of the latest incidents or concerns that could impact our local community. Thank you again to Jay and Dave Cruickshank for making this training session available and also for the lunch that they provided for us! This was another indispensable training that helped our CERT Members understand the possibilities we may encounter and the functions that may be required of us, for our community.

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Congratulations to the Members of Hamden Class #16 on their Graduation, 

October 16, 2019  

Congratulations to our newest members from Hamden CERT Class #16. Their graduation ceremony took place at the Dunbar Hill Fire Station #8, along with their family and friends. We thank them for their commitment and dedication in learning the skills needed to make a difference during any emergency or disaster. Thank you also to CT. StateRegion 2 OEM Director Jake Manke and many of our veteran members for stopping by to support our graduates. We look forward to working along with them in the future during any emergency activations or community planned events. 

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April 25, 2019
Thanks to Our Team Members who participated in a full day of training at the CT. Emergency Management Symposium!  

Thank you Team Members for coming out today to spend a full day at the 2019 CT. Emergency Management Symposium in Cromwell. It was a great day with excellent subject matter and outstanding speakers! We learned a great deal about Emergency Management Operations that will benefit our team, our community and our operations at any major weather event or other emergency that could expand into a multi operational period incident.  Thanks for taking time off from work and rearranging your schedules to attend this informative presentation.  It's your dedication to our team that makes us the proficient team that we are! Hopefully, some of our members who couldn’t join us today, can join us next year. 

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April 11, 2019
Congratulations to the Members of Hamden CERT Class #15 on the completion of their Training & Graduation!  

Congratulations to our newest members who have just graduated from Hamden CERT Basic Class #15! We were honored to have DEMHS Regional Coordinator Bob Kenny who gave the Loyalty Oath to our new members. We also had an additional side event with the 18th Birthday and swearing in of our New Official CERT Member; Andy Romaniuk that happened to be that same day! Congratulations to Andy and we thank him for his years of service to Hamden CERT as one of our first Teen CERT Graduates! Thank you to our graduates for their commitment and dedication to learn the necessary skills to "Make a Difference" and thank you John Homer for your photography talents!


 May 8, 2019

"Stop the Bleed Training" was provided for Hamden CERT Members during National Stop the Bleed Month!

We salute 30 of our Hamden CERT Members who attended our May, Regular Monthly Meeting and Training Session! A Special Thanks goes out to Retired Hamden Battalion Chief Bill Fitzmaurice and North Haven Deputy Fire Chief Scott Martus for their informative presentation on Stop the Bleed. All of our students were instructed on Hemorrhage Control and had the opportunity to practice hands on training for the application of tourniquets and wound packing procedures. 

Photos by Hamden CERT Member John Homer 

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November 16, 2018 
"Congratulations to our New Hamden CERT Members from Class #14!"

Congratulations to our New CERT Members from Class #14!

We had a great 10 weeks together and we look forward to serving our community along with you in 2019!

We took pleasure in a Graduation Ceremony on Friday evening, November 16, 2018 for the members of the 14th Hamden CERT Class. It was our honor to have Acting Fire Chief Gary Merwede, State of Connecticut DEMHS Regional Director Bob Kenny and  Hamden Town Clerk Vera Morrison stop by to speak with our new members. Also, thank you to our Active CERT Members and the members of Dunbar Hill Company #8 for their assistance over the last 10 weeks! We salute all 17 members of this graduating class and thank them for their loyalty to learn the skills necessary to make a difference in our community!

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August 29 & 30, 2018

Congratulations to the 20 CERT Members who are now certified as

Mental Health First Aid Responders!   

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Congratulations to the 20 Hamden and North Haven CERT Members who completed the 2 day/8 hour Mental Health First Aid Class! Thank you to

Hamden CERT Members Michelle Alberico & Debbie DiLeone who made this class possible, along with Lead Instructor Emily McCave PhD. from the

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  

A special thank you goes out to Falcon Pizza and Giovanni's Restaurant who provided our dinners during this 2 day event. We would also like to thank

Hamden’s Dunbar Hill Volunteer Firefighters from Station #8 who supported this event by making their hall available to facilitate this training, which helped us enhance our skills and service to our community. The training and certification received will help our members to recognize, support and protect any individual who may be experiencing a mental health emergency. This training will also help our members who will be assisting our community during major emergencies like weather related disasters, operating at an Emergency Shelter  or assisting individuals who are impacted by any unsettling incident that may take them out of their customary routine.

"Thank you again to all of the agencies that made this training possible."

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April 19, 2018

Congratulations to Hamden CERT Class #13's 29 New Members! 

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We took pleasure in a Graduation Ceremony on Thursday evening, April 19, 2018 for the members of the 13th Hamden CERT Class. It was our honor to have Mayor Curt Leng, Town Clerk Vera Morrison and Councilman Mike Colaiacovo stop by to speak with our new members. Thank you to our CERT members and the members of Dunbar Hill Company #8 for their assistance over the last 10 weeks. We salute all 29 members of this class and thank them for their dedication and commitment to learn the skills necessary to make a difference in our community!  

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Photo by Hamden CERT Member John Homer

February 21, 2018
CPR and AED Training for CERT Members 

On Wednesday, February 21, 2018 -  18 Hamden CERT Members came together  for our CPR, AED Training and Recertification. A special thanks goes out to Hamden Fire Chief Berardesca and also to Training Officer, Lt. Lubowicki who conducted the training. We are also grateful for our Team Members who came out tonight to learn how to;

"Make a Difference!"

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Thursday, November 16, 2017
Congratulations to Hamden CERT Class #12 on the Completion of Training and  Graduation.

 Graduation of Hamden CERT Class #12 took place on Thursday, November 16, 2017 The students  started their training back in September and their training consisted of academic and practical training on how to make critical decisions during every day emergencies or at any major incident. Below are photos of some students during their 10 weeks of training. Congratulations on your completion of this Nationally Certified FEMA Course and thank you for your commitment and dedication to our community. We would also like to thank the members of Dunbar Hill Company #8 for the use of their facilities for this class and our regular ongoing activities. 


     Youth  Emergency Preparedness Training


Hamden CERT has had the privilege of teaching our Middle and High School Students the skills necessary to be prepared and assist their family and neighbors during any minor or large scale emergency. 


Congratulations to Hamden High School Teen CERT Class #6 on your Graduation!

May 8, 2017



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 Hamden High School, Teen CERT Class #5

 Graduates' 11 Students


Over the last 3 years, more than three dozen students from Hamden High School and Hamden Middle School have Graduated from the 10-week, National Certified Teen CERT Program. During the after-school programs, the students have learned the necessary skills to help their families, neighbors and community during any emergency.

There have been 6 High School classes & 1 for the Middle School, joining the Hamden Teen CERT Program. The training was conducted by Certified Instructors from the Hamden CERT Program along with support from High School & Middle School Administrators.

The Hamden Program is one of only 3 in the state that has a Teen CERT Program and has graduated over 75 students from the program! The program has proved to be a steppingstone for previous graduates who expressed an interest in public safety, homeland security and the health care field.



Also, Hamden Middle School

Teen CERT Class #1

  Graduates 14 Students



The training consisted of the basic CERT curriculum along with the training of how the Teen CERT members could assist their family, neighbors, their fellow school students. The program and instruction were tuned down to meet the needs of individuals in a younger age group, Middle School setting.  Their training included Teamwork, Medical Operations, Fire and Home Safety and use of fire extinguishers. The students were also introduced to the everyday operations of our local police and firefighters and also instructed in being aware of any suspicious activity during school sessions or any, out of the ordinary behavior near their school surroundings. We hope that this program will lead to an interest in public safety, homeland security, law enforcement or the health care field. 




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Our History of Service

Hamden CERT assisting our 1st Responders and Community during their history of Emergency Activations over the last 19 Years. 

Over the last 19 years, Hamden’s CERT members have assisted our community during fires, hazardous material incidents, weather related emergencies, mountain search and rescues at Sleeping Giant State Park and emergency sheltering operations, in addition to the many planned community events during the year. It was also an honor for the Hamden CERT members to assist at the Kleen Energy Explosion disaster for three days in Middletown, Ct. assisting with security and accountability back on February 7, 2010.

During Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, we managed and operated our town’s emergency shelter at the Hamden High School for over 36 hours. A team of 17 members volunteered over 1200 collective hours of service over a four-day period! After the initial period of sheltering, our Team volunteered again during a three day P.O.D. (Point of Distribution), giving out water and food to displaced residents at the Miller Library and the Keefe Center. During Hurricane Sandy 2012, our team managed shelter operations for a three-day period. After the Tornado of May 15, 2018, our team staffed an Emergency Storm Center and Point of Distribution at West Woods School for the many victims who suffered severe property damage and loss of utilities for many weeks. Hundreds of gallons of potable water, cases of drinking water, non perishable foods along with electronic and phone charging stations were provided to the many residents who were impacted. Our team members totaled over 323 service hours during this 3 day operation. 

During the early months of 2020, we found ourselves in the heart of The COVID-19 Pandemic, which has changed our lives forever. Starting in mid-March, Hamden CERT Members assisted Hamden Public Schools and Hamden Community Services and gave logistical support to provide Points of Distribution (POD's) for food and grocery items. During tis crisis, acting as members of Hamden Emergency Management, we set up another weekly POD for protective equipment (face masks & thermal thermometers) for small business owners! Our members also provided deliveries of grocery items to homebound elderly residents. In conjunction with Hamden Elderly Services, these deliveries became a weekly routine. Over a 16 week period, Hamden CERT Members volunteered over 900 Service Hours to assist these town agencies along with our community during the national emergency. 


Hamden CERT Services are provided to our community on a totally volunteer basis 24/7 at no cost to the taxpayers. We strive to make a difference in our community and to provide our support when the need is the greatest. Our Team is made up of many different individuals with a variety of different qualifications. The one common thread is that we all benefit from serving our neighbors and residents when the need is paramount. While doing this, it is always an honor to work alongside our Professional Police and Fire Personnel who are dedicated to our safety and to a better life for all of us.

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