PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The City of Palm Desert is offering free Community Emergency Response Team training at the Palm Desert Civic Center for three days in January.

City officials said the 20-hour course will be taught in the Council Chamber at City Hall, located at 73510 Fred Waring Drive. Training begins Monday, January 13, and ends on Wednesday, January 15.

Classes on Monday and Tuesday run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and class on Wednesday takes place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Officials said CERT promotes readiness, self-sufficiency, and teamwork during emergencies and disasters while doing the greatest good for the most people. The program also teaches rescuers how to stay safe in these situations.

Students in the CERT program learn how to organize relief efforts during a disaster, manage utilities, extinguish small fires, conduct light search and rescue, and offer basic disaster medical care.

Officials said classes are limited to 40 students and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but a waiting list will be in place as well. They said participants must be completely committed to dedicate their time to the three-day course and must wear appropriate clothing such as pants and closed-toed shoes.

Protective equipment such as gloves, goggles and hardhats will be provided to students in the certification program.

If you want more information or would like to register for the program, call (760) 776-6326.