"If available, emergency services personnel are the best trained and equipped to handle emergencies, and you should use them. However, following a catastrophic disaster, you and the community may be on your own for a period of time because of the size of the area affected, lost communications, and unpassable roads. CERT training is designed to prepare you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Because emergency services personnel will not be able to help everyone immediately, you can make a difference by using the training in this Participant Manual to save lives and protect property. This training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice and by working as a team, you will be able to do the greatest good for the greatest number of victims after a disaster, while protecting yourself from becoming a victim."
CERT Los Angeles: http://www.cert-la.com