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The Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) is a citizen disaster preparedness program designed for volunteers 16 years of age or older, who live, work, or attend high school in San Francisco. Graduates of the San Francisco Police Activities League (P.A.L) Law Enforcement Cadet Academy are also eligible to join.

Volunteers will receive training from both the San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Police Department. ALERT volunteers will first complete the Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) ( training and then graduate into an 8 hour Police Department course specifically designed for ALERT team members. The ALERT program will have Basic, Senior, and Supervisory level positions. Based upon the volunteer’s level of additional training, he/she may wish to obtain Senior or Supervisory level status. The goal of the program is to locate, train, and then coordinate volunteers to safely perform essential tasks after a major disaster. Such tasks might include: traffic control, foot patrol of business and residential areas, reporting criminal activity, looting and property damage observation, supplying information to the incident Command Post, working in partnership with NERT volunteers to provide well-being checks, assisting with medical aid, assisting with Command Post functions, assisting Animal Care and Control in the handling of pets, securing resource locations, and delivering logistical supplies. In addition, ALERT members will direct individuals to mass casualty and shelter locations, assist at reunification centers, provide support at schools for reunification, and participate in Operation Return.

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What is the profile of an ALERT member?

Someone who:

  • Is at least 16 years of age and lives, works, or attends high school in San Francisco.
  • Recognizes the need for community involvement in law enforcement tasks and has the time to commit and provide assistance.
  • Wants to be of value and service to the larger community, especially during times of disaster.
  • Has a particular interest in law enforcement, the maintenance of law and order, and who wishes to connect and work with members of the San Francisco Police Department.
  • Has an interest in building community preparedness to respond to and recover from major events and disasters, and may possess skills or work experiences which include emergency repairs and construction.
  • Has good communication skills, a balanced approach to stressful situations, and may be willing to take on the role of supporting the Police Department when necessary.
  • Is willing to participate in training and maintaining skills.

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Continued Training

As part of their commitment, community members volunteering as an ALERT member will be required to attend one drill per year to maintain their program status and certification. Every two years, the ALERT member will be required to attend an update course.

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ALERT Member Deployment

ALERT members will work closely with full-time and/or Reserve Police Officers in the event they are deployed after a disaster. The Basic ALERT volunteer (see below) will have no law enforcement powers other than those available to all citizens.

All ALERT members will be provided with uniform apparel and equipment to be worn during training drills and if/when a deployment were to take place. The ALERT volunteer will only need to supply themselves with a pair of dark pants and shoes.

Three Ways to Become an ALERT volunteer:

After clearing a basic background check you will be eligible to register for one of our triannual ALERT training classes as follows:
1. Complete two 8 hour classes with ALERT, or,
2. If you are already NERT Certified, complete one 8 hour class with ALERT, or,
3. If you are an SFPD Community Police Academy graduate, complete one 8 hour class with ALERT.

**The NERT training courses often fill up quickly so please do not wait until the last minute to sign up for them. Also, allow an ample amount of time for your background interview process to be completed. Both of these processes may take some time to complete.

Background Check and Credentialing

All ALERT volunteers will be subject to a basic background check given to all Police Department volunteers. After completion of training and after having met any and all requirements, the ALERT volunteer will be given identifying credentials reflecting their level of training and role within the ALERT program.

ALERT Training Drill

All active/trained ALERT members are asked to join us at our next training drill, on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018. Details will be emailed to active ALERT members, prior to the date of the exercise. All ALERT volunteers are required to participate in at least one training drill per calendar year in order to remain eligible for a deployment.

ALERT volunteers are asked to complete, print, and bring with them a completed ICS 212M form to each drill they attend. Download a fillable version of ICS 212M here: PDF iconSFPD-ICS 212M-fillable-050716.pdf

2018 ALERT Training Dates

Training Classes (For New Members) Training Drills (For Existing Members)
Saturdays, January 20th** & January 27th Saturday, February 3rd
Saturdays, June 2nd** & June 9th Saturday, May 5th
Saturdays, September 22nd** & September 29th Saturday, August 4th
  Saturday, November 3rd (Night Drill)

** Class dates indicated in red are only for new members who have not completed either SFFD NERT training or the SFPD Community Police Academy.

ALERT Volunteer Waiver Form

Alert Volunteer Waiver Form (For non-emergency events)

In order to participate at events in support of the ALERT program, such as recruitment activities, and to assist the SFPD with events outside of a disaster/emergency related deployment, ALERT volunteers must sign and submit a waiver form. This waiver form releases the SFPD and the City & Co. of San Francisco from liability if you were to become injured or ill as a result of your work on behalf of the ALERT program. This "fillable" form can be completed and returned to Mark Hernandez, electronically, or you can print out the form and bring it with you to the event for which you have volunteered. There, it should be given to the ALERT volunteer assigned to collect these forms at the start of your assignment.

ALERT volunteers are asked to complete, print, and bring with them a completed Volunteer Agreement and Waiver and Release of Liability form to each  non-emergency (except sanctioned training drills/exercises) they attend. Download a fillable version: PDF iconsfpd-alert-volunteer-agreement-and-waiver-fillable.pdf

Additional Information

Have more questions? Please visit our ALERT FAQ page for further information.

View the San Francisco Fire Department N.E.R.T. Training dates and locations.

For more information on the San Francisco Police Department ALERT Program, email us at [email protected]; or call Sergeant Mark Hernandez (SFPD, Ret.), SFPD ALERT Program Coordinator, at (415) 401-4615.

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