Become an Emergency Services Volunteer (ESV)


Step 1.Volunteers can be members of several different teams: 

Do you enjoy walking around your neighborhood, meeting and connecting with your neighbors? Become a Block Preparedness Coordinator (BPC).

  • BPCs are relevant not only in a disaster, but also in our everyday lives, building social networks in our neighborhoods, deterring crimes, and preparing for emergencies.
  • During activation, BPCs check on their neighbors, identify and report critical problems to their Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinators (NPCs), and assist in getting resources on the scene.
  • When neighbors know each other, they look out for each other and work better together. BPCs are the driving force that makes this happen, making our neighborhoods safer places to live.

Are you more of an active, boots-on-the-ground person? Train with us to become a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member.

  • CERT Basic Training is a national program designed to help prepare Palo Alto residents to help themselves, their families, and their neighbors in the event of a disaster.
  • Following such an event, CERT members can extinguish small fires, turn off gas inlets to damaged homes, perform light search-and-rescue, and render basic first aid.

 Is your interest in radio-based communication technologies with people around Palo Alto and the Bay Area? Join our Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) branch.

  • ACS includes ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) and RACES (Radio Amateur Civilian Emergency Services).
  • Palo Alto's ACS supplements emergency communications with volunteer staff. Both licensed and unlicensed volunteers can serve in one or more functions across administrative, management, technical, or operational areas in both ARES and RACES.
  • If you'd like more information, please call us at (650) 617-3197, or email

 Attend an upcoming training session 

Attend one of the following trainings or contact us to learn more on how to get involved.  

Block Preparedness Coordinator (BPC) Training:

  • This introduction to the BPC program is offered quarterly, and includes Neighborhood Watch training.
  • Open to the public, this training teaches about the partnership between community and city, and how BPCs establish communications links to "blocks" (residences and businesses), promoting a resilient community and self-sufficiency.
  • Normally we have a three-hour in-person training, but to keep within current Santa Clara County Health Orders, we are currently offering a two-hour online session.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training course:

  • The OES offers CERT Basic Training twice a year, once in the spring, once in the fall.
  • CERT members receive approximately 24 hours of training, taught in 7 sessions, in earthquake preparedness, disaster fire suppression techniques, disaster medical operations, first aid/CPR, and light search-and-rescue, as well as team organization and management.
  • CERT training culminates with a disaster simulation and comprehensive course review. The CERT program provides an effective response capability.

Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) - contact the OES at 650-617-3197 or

Step 2.Once you have attended a basic training event, registering is easy:

Fill out the volunteer registration form and select "Submit".

Our ESV Program Administrator will get an alert and process your application.

Step 3.We'll get back to you

Once your application is processed, our ESV Program Administrator will contact you for more information (including requesting a picture for your badge) to assist with any other training you may need or want, depending on which position(s) you would like to fill. We run trainings throughout the year, so no matter when you sign up, there will be training available for you.

Go back to the Get Involved: Emergency Services Volunteers page