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.

Image by Ash from Modern Afflatus

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 Assignment Tracking Log

This is used at the Command Post, keeping leaders abreast of the situation status. 

It tracks where teams are working, their objectives and the results. 

CERT Briefing Assignment

This form is used by the Command Post to provide instructions to functional teams. 
It is also used by teams to log their actions and report damage asseessments.

CERT Victim Treatment Area Record

This is used by treatment area personnel to record victims entering the treatment area, their condition, as well as where they went and when.

CERT Communications Log

The form is used by radio operators. It records the time a radio transmission was made, who received it, who sent it and the subject of the message.

CERT Equipment Inventory

This document is used by logistics to track equipment that was dispatched with CERT responders.

CERT General Message Form

This document is used for sending concise messages on key issues between command levels and groups.

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

CERT Command Post Activity Log

This log provides basic incident activity documentation and becomes a reference for after-action reports.