If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen.
Communication is everything, especially when responding to a disaster. Efficient flow of information makes it possible for resources to be deployed effectively. It provides actionable information for decision-making. Documentation may also reveal hazards through patterns; so it can play a role is safety.
You can't remember everything. One of the most important things you do as a responder is write down what happened. These forms are basic and helpful. You can use plain paper, but these forms prompt you to capture important information.
Scribes have a big role in disaster response. The incident commander/team leader typically designates a scribe to record all that happens. Functional teams and command staff also benefit from having a designated scribe. The information captured on these forms and by scribes helps with after action reports, assessments and record-keeping by local, state and national agencies.
The forms used in the 2011 CERT curriculum are identical to those in the newest CERT curriculum release in 2019.
You will find them below.
CERT Damage Assessment
This form is completed by CERT team members as they travel through the area to the CERT staging area.
It is also helpful if you are staying in your own neighborhood to help your neighbors.
CERT Personnel Resources Sign-In
Used by staging personnel to track personnel availability. CERTs sign in upon arrival. It records who is on site, when they arrived, when they left, when they were assigned and lists their special skills.
CERT Incident Commander Checklist
This checklist provides:
A list of responsibilities
What should be done before arriving on scene.
How to set up the command post
How to establish command staff
How to mange operations
How to deactivate the command post