Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

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CERT emblem Eastern Shore Community Emergency Response Teams (ES CERT)

CERT began on the Eastern Shore in 2004. CERT members play a key role in manning Accomack’s Point of Distribution sites (PODS) and distributing emergency preparedness public education materials to county citizens and visitors. They participate in local and regional exercises – by exercising their capabilities in the tested task or by role-playing as victims or visitor, etc. CERT also plays a vital role in the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI), where CERT members are partnered with the Eastern Shore Health District and local law enforcement to distribute prophylactic medication to the entire Eastern Shore within 48 hours during a public health emergency.

CERT members are trained via a 21 hour class offered to Eastern Shore citizens in various locations and at various times. There are currently over 250 CERT members on the Shore. Classes are taught in a time frame most suitable to the group. Some classes are taught to business groups during working hours while other classes are taught in the evenings and/or on weekends.

Contact JJ Justis, CERT Coordinator at 757-302-4267 or any CERT member for more information and to get information about the next available class.

When taking a CERT class, you will learn to:

  • Manage utilities and put out small fires
  • Treat the three medical killers (blocked airway, bleeding and shock)
  • Provide basic medical aid and triage
  • Perform light search and rescue operations and safely remove victims
  • Organize yourselves and work together as a trained team
  • Utilize the Incident Command System
  • Collect necessary damage assessment intelligence about your location and surrounding area
  • Coordinate and communicate with first responders when they become available and are able to access the area

cert class in session
Above: CERT members at a Community Spanish class taught at ESCC.

CERT students   cert students

Above: Recent CERT class graduates

Eastern Shore Medical Reserve Corps (ES MRC)
Eastern Shore medical reserve corps logo
MRC also began on the Eastern Shore in 2004. Currently numbering over 200 medical and non-medical professionals, MRC is a team of volunteer health care professionals and auxiliary staff who are trained to respond and assist the local emergency responders and public health professionals. MRC is prepared to:
  • Provide critical “surge” capacity during large scale emergencies
  • Provide staffing at Commodity Distribution sites (Points of Distribution sites – PODS)
  • Provide staffing at Point of Dispensing clinics during mass immunization/prophylaxis campaigns 
  • Assist the Health Department in staffing their seasonal flu clinics 
  • Provide heat related health information to beachgoers at the Assateague National Wildlife Refuge
  • Provide public education opportunities through health fairs, festivals and other public venues
  • Participate in county disaster exercises and drills. 

Training for MRC members will vary and is based on input from the members. It may include CPR/First Aid, trauma response techniques, START triage, local emergency procedures, mass dispensing, Incident Command System (ICS), crisis intervention and health education.
Prospective volunteers can register with the MRC by going to and selecting "online application" for Eastern Shore MRC or contact Ellen Archer, MRC Coordinator at 757-302-4266 for further information or assistance.

mrc members dispensing flu vaccine  mrc members on the beach 

Left: MRC members dispensing flu vaccines; Right: MRC workers at Assateague Beach