[Revised January 22, 2020: Changed “member” to “volunteer” to conform to recent FEMA protocol change.]
[See bottom of page for older revision information]

This page provides information about DSW renewal for CERT volunteers of Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solana Beach (abbreviated below as Enc/DM/SB). These three cities have a combined Fire Department, which is the CERT sponsoring agency, and common CERT academies, administration, and procedures. With minor differences in details, the DSW process is common, so for the greater good, this Encinitas CERT website is hosting this information for CERT volunteers of its sister cities.

All Enc/DM/SB CERT volunteers need to carry an up-to-date (unexpired) CERT Disaster Service Worker (DSW) ID Card to be deployed, or to participate in most CERT training events. For a detailed explanation of the DSW program, including rights, responsibilities, and administrative details, see Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program on the California Office of Emergency Services website.

Please check the expiration date on your DSW ID card … if it is within 60 days of expiration … follow these FOUR renewal procedures:

  1. Fill out the Disaster Services Worker Application (instructions below).
  2. Stay current with your CERT training by attending at least one qualifying training session per calendar year. (See Training Requirements below)
  3. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE THIS … complete a simple personal background check required by your city (instructions below).
  4. IF REQUIRED … complete the FEMA IS-317 online independent study course and provide your certificate of completion for this renewal. (See instructions below)

#1. DSW (Disaster Service Worker) Form Instructions

Please read and follow these instructions exactly. If they are not followed, the County will reject the form and we (you) will need to resubmit, delaying delivery of your renewal card.

  1. Download the form using the link for your city. If you use the wrong form, it will be rejected and you will need to resubmit.:
    Encinitas Disaster Services Worker Application
    Del Mar Disaster Services Worker Application
    Solana Beach Disaster Services Worker Application
  2. The form must be completed in blue ink, black ink, or typed, not pencil, and must be LEGIBLE.
  3. For renewals, please check RENEWAL
  4. For renewals, DO NOT complete the Loyalty Oath of Affirmation box. That means do not write your name, and do not write the date. (This cannot be stressed enough; this is the main cause of rejection by the County).
  5. Complete your name, residence mailing address, email address and telephone numbers.
  6. Put the date in the Renewal area. The date is the date that you are completing the application.
  7. Old copies of the form will not be accepted. The only form that will be accepted is dated September 2013 on the lower left. This is the same for all three city’s forms. If you have trouble downloading the form from the link above it can be emailed to you.
  8. Sign where it says Signature of Applicant/DSW Volunteer only.
  9. Scan the signed form to a .pdf file and attach it to an email to Arnie Lewin at alewin@encinitasca.gov for processing.
  10. Alternatively, a volunteer can mail (USPS) their application to Arnie; for the mailing address, contact him at the email address just above.
  11. If the County states that there is no picture on file, we will need a “head shot” in a jpg format. You will need a white background, sunglasses are not permitted.

#2. CERT Training Requirements

The CERT DSW card expires two years after issue. Along with the other requirements for renewal, a volunteer must have participated in a qualifying training event in each of the two calendar years prior to renewal. A qualifying training event is a CERT Academy, a CERT Academy Final Drill, a CERT Countywide Drill, or another training event that is specifically designated as qualifying by the Enc/DM/SB Fire Department. In general, qualifying training events will be flagged with a “[+]” notation in their Calendar entry on this website. If there is any doubt as to whether an event satisfies the training requirement, ask the indicated event contact.

To minimize confusion, a partial list of training events that do NOT qualify for DSW renewal is: CPR training, Shelter Worker training, CERT general meetings that are not explicitly designated as qualifying, FEMA online IS courses, street fair booth volunteer, or radio net participation. These are all valuable skills and activities, but they do not qualify as training for CERT DSW renewal.

If a volunteer’s card has expired, or if there was no training in either of the prior two calendar years, the CERT program manager will review all such cases on an individual basis and make a decision regarding renewal training requirements. If you are in either of these situations, or are just unsure of your qualified training history, contact Arnie Lewin to discuss your situation and what training is required for renewal.

If a volunteer’s card has expired, participation in some qualifying training events, such as County Drills, is not allowed. However, a volunteer with an expired card may participate in a CERT Academy or Academy Final Drill.

#3. Live Scan Personal Background Check Instructions

As of March 2012, a personal background check is a mandatory requirement to remain in the Enc/DM/SB CERT program. The Live Scan background check only needs to be done once, it doesn’t need to be renewed.

You may have submitted for a Department of Justice or other background check in the past for your employment or for any other volunteer activities, but due to privacy restrictions, those results cannot be shared with us, including between cities.

Please download the Live Scan Request Form for your city. If you use the wrong form, this probably won’t be noticed by the Live Scan operator, so you will likely end up getting a live scan background check performed that will not be usable by your city, that you will not be reimbursed for, and that will then require you to do another live scan procedure with the correct form.
Encinitas CERT Live Scan Request Form.

Del Mar CERT Live Scan Request Form.
Solana Beach CERT Live Scan Request Form.

Print the form and complete the “Applicant Information” section, leaving everything starting with “Your Number” and below blank.

We have made arrangements with Coastal Live Scan, 144 West D Street, Encinitas, for all Enc/DM/SB CERT volunteers. Coastal Live Scan is open Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM, but closed for lunch between 1:30 and 2:30.

A fee of $20 has been negotiated with Coastal Live Scan. That is all you should be charged and this is the maximum you will be reimbursed, or that will be paid directly by Del Mar.

Bring the following:  (1) the completed form,  (2) Government ID document, e.g. Driver’s license, and  (3) payment for Coastal Live Scan.

Your city will be notified when you pass the Livescan screening.

Encinitas CERT volunteers: Please take your paid receipt to the cashier’s office at Encinitas City Hall, 505 South Vulcan Avenue Ave., and you will be reimbursed. City Hall is open from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M and closed on alternate Fridays. It’s about a two-block walk, with a small hill, between Coastal Live Scan and City Hall.

Del Mar CERT volunteers: The City of Del Mar will be billed directly by Coastal Live Scan, and you will not be charged at the time of the procedure. There is no reimbursement or direct billing procedure for any other Livescan operator.

Solana Beach CERT volunteers: Please take your receipt to Solana Beach City Hall, 635 South Highway 101 and give it to Kyle Koszewnik. Kyle will complete the payment request and submit it to Finance and you will receive reimbursement in the mail.

#4. FEMA IS-317 Online Independent Study Course

Effective July 1 2016, completion of the FEMA independent study course IS-317, Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams, is a mandatory requirement to remain in the Enc/DM/SB CERT program. We also require this course to be completed by all academy students, starting with the Spring 2016 academy.

IS-317 is an overview and an excellent review of the CERT program.

The intent is that IS-317 must be completed, and evidence of completion provided, every other renewal, i.e., nominally every four years.

If you have completed IS-317 and provided evidence of completion within the 36 months prior to your renewal date (Defined here) in conjunction with a previous renewal or CERT academy, then you do not need to complete IS-317 for this renewal. Otherwise you must complete IS-317 not more than two months prior to your renewal date, and provide evidence of completion.

If you have any questions about whether IS-317 is required for your renewal, contact Arnie Lewin.

The course and its final exam can be taken online at https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-317. The course has a nominal completion time of 6 hours. You can take the course and complete the exam at your own pace, in multiple sessions over many days, but it is recommended that you keep a browser tab open to the course at the FEMA site, and not delete cookies set by that site. Otherwise you may have to page through the course from the beginning to resume the course and take the exam.

Upon successful completion of the exam, FEMA will email you a permanent link to a pdf file that is your certificate of completion of the course. Either forward that email from FEMA, or attach the certificate pdf file to an email, to Arnie Lewin at alewin@encinitasca.gov. Alternatively, you may attach the certificate, or include the FEMA link to it, in the same email that attaches your completed DSW application form.

Hint for Mac users: Depending on your browser and settings, clicking on the link in the FEMA email may download the certificate file with file extension “.asp”. You can rename this to use the file extension “.pdf“; internally it is a valid pdf file. Then it can be opened with the built-in Preview program. You may also be able open the .asp file in your browser.

[Revised November 27, 2019: Updated link to CalOES DSW page.]
[Revised November 19, 2019: Fixed incorrectly cropped timeline image.]
[Revised July 10, 2018: removed broken links to Coastal Live Scan]
[Revised July 7, 2018: removed new expiration date information, removed Del Mar Live Scan option]
[Revised June 2018: Rewrite to clarify annual training requirements based on the calendar year]
[Revised March 16 2017 & July 25, 2017 to use updated SB & DM Livescan Forms]
[Revised November 21, 2016 to add a link to the CA OES DSW page.]
[Revised October 17, 2016 to add renewal timeline graphic]
[Revised February 27, 2016 to include Del Mar and Solana Beach]
[Revised January 27, 2016 to add information on the IS-317 requirement]
[Revised May 17, 2015: Reference and link to revised (Sept 2013) DSW form.]
[Revised September 10, 2014: Added information about expired cards with no qualifying training in the past year.]