West Orange, NJ CERT

The West Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a volunteer group of residents serving the Township of West Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. Team members agree to assist their neighbors and town during an emergency or disaster. Citizen Corps defines CERT as "CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference." We promote disaster preparation and readiness before a disaster strikes so that you, your family, and your neighbors are better equipped to deal with the challenges an emergency or disaster brings.

What is CERT?

We train to provide support to first responders, organize other volunteers in the event of a disaster, and provide reliable information to first responders when the scope of a disaster may outpace their ability to gather information on their own. Our members are trained in Basic First Aid, Family Disaster Preparedness, Medical Operations, CERT Operations, Disaster Mental Health, and Basic Emergency Management. In the event of an emergency or disaster we work with the Police Department, Fire Department, First Aid Squad, and the Town, County, and State Offices of Emergency Management (OEM) to provide support services.

Citizens Corps provides a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) site that answers many common questions people have about CERT. You can also read more about the history of the CERT concept at the Citizen Corps site.

CERT in West Orange

West Orange primarily faces the threat of Severe Weather, including winter storms which can greatly impact travel, and severe storm activity which cause power outages, damage, or flash flooding while also interfering with travel. In these situations having volunteers who can help their neighbors immediately following these storm events helps keep professional responders free to help where they are most needed. By providing an established group for the Township to reach out to during emergencies, communications can be streamlined and the Township can know there is a dedicated group of individuals who are committed to helping when asked. West Orange CERT has trained in additional areas beyond CERT basic including: Large Incident and Firefighter Rehab, Wilderness Search, and Shelter Operations.

We also promote awareness, preparedness, and readiness through education and by assisting West Orange residents to prepare for potential emergencies, establish plans, and prepare supplies like food, water, and medicine and helpful tools such as a radio, flashlight, and batteries.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our group.

You can also follow us on social media:

In West Orange, CERT is overseen by the Fire Department under the direction of the Office of Emergency Management. Our chain of command into the town government are Fire Department Officers, Captain Abdur Yasin and Deputy Chief Paul Wannemacher.

How can I contribute?

  • You are:
    • At least 18 (21?) years old
    • Willing to attend regular meetings, training, and deployment events
    • Looking for a way to assist your neighbors and the town during an emergency
    • A West Orange resident (or your surrounding town does not have a CERT program)
    • Willing to submit to a background check
  • You are not:
    • Expected to risk your safety as part of CERT
    • Looking to be considered a first responder
  • Potential volunteers are welcome to contact us or attend our monthly meeting to get more information.

West Orange CERT Officers

Elected for a term of 2 years, September 2018 to September 2020:


Ken Stele

Deputy Director

Matt Dragon


Ben Jakubovic

Elizabeth Dunlea

Erricka Kearney

Hedy Messinger

Karen Bonislawski

Leede A. deLagarde II

Lucian Wondolowski

Emergency Information

Area Information