When disasters strike, every-day community members are often the first to render aid. The Otter Community Emergency Response Team consists of CSUMB community members who have received specialized training and equipment enabling them to assist both community members and first-responding agencies during an emergency. Participation in Otter CERT is open to all students, faculty, staff, and University affiliates with an interest in helping their community, learning valuable skills, and working as part of a dedicated team of peers.

The Otter CERT program is part of the larger state and national CERT and Citizen Corps programs and receives material support from FEMA through the California Volunteers/Citizens Corp. office. Otter CERT also participates as an element of the Monterey County CERT program, coordinating with Central Coast CERT and other CERT teams from around the County and Peninsula region.

Download the Otter CERT Brochure for more information

CERT Team Building

The Otter CERT team meets monthly to collaborate on team business. Anyone with an interest in Otter CERT is encouraged to attend these meetings to learn more about the program. Team meetings are held at 5:00 pm on the first Monday of the month in the CSUMB Emergency Operations Center located in Valley Hall, Bldg. 82 E. Every other month following the team meeting, a training session is provided on varied topics of the team’s selection. 

While the CERT team’s focus is technical “boots in the field” assistance, that assistance doesn’t come without considerable administration and support. Community members who are interested in helping with administration and support services for the team rather than, or in addition to, field work are also encouraged.

CERT Training

The Otter CERT program provides a many training and exercise opportunities for the teams members. Members with an interest in field work are required to attend the 20 hour Basic CERT class prior to receiving their response equipment. In addition to bi-monthly training sessions following the business meeting, Otter CERT’s may also participate in periodic CERT training conducted on a regional basis. Those with an interest in team leadership may attend CERT Team Leader training which is offered periodically at the request of team members within the region.
In addition to basic CERT response training, Otter CERT members are also provided training and opportunities to assist in other critical response and recovery responsibilities such as staging area management, shelter operation, debris removal, mass care and feeding, communications and other essential duties.

For more information on Otter CERT visit the Otter CERT web site ( or contact the EMHS office.