ALERT! How you can volunteer to help protect your community
In the aftermath of an earthquake, fire, or other disaster, first responders will need the public’s assistance to help survivors and speed recovery. You can train to help police and your neighbors as a volunteer member of our Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT).
ALERT volunteers have no special law enforcement powers but may provide crucial support in the hours after a disaster. You’ll work closely with full-time and/or reserve police officers, helping with tasks including traffic control, foot patrols around businesses and homes, reporting criminal activity and working with other civilian volunteer groups to assist with medical aid, animal control, delivery of supplies and welfare checks. ALERT volunteers can also help guide people to shelters and reunification centers. In non-emergency situations, we may also call on you to help direct foot and car traffic at street festivals, sports events, concerts, parades and political demonstrations.
Are you eligible?
We offer three training classes, free of charge, every year. We welcome you to join us if you:
- Are 16 years old or older.
- Live, work, or go to school in San Francisco.
- Have time and interest in serving your community, including willingness to report for continuous training.
- Can pass a background check well before you start training.
- Have good communication skills.
- Ideally also have a relevant skill or work experience, such as in repairs and construction.
Here’s what you need to do to join:
- Get certified by the San Francisco Fire Department, which offers a 20-hour free training program over six classes in neighborhood emergency preparedness and hands-on disaster skills. You can find the date of the next training to join NERT, the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, here.
- Graduate from the ten-week-long SFPD Community Police Academy Program.
After fulfilling one of either of these requirements, you must complete one eight-hour class with ALERT. After that, we require you to attend a minimum of one of four drills per year to maintain your certification. You may also seek additional training to apply for a senior or supervisory position. In that case, you’ll be expected to attend additional drills during the year. These drills are essential to keep our team prepared.
All ALERT members will be provided with uniform clothing to be worn during training drills and for emergency or non-emergency deployments. The ALERT volunteer will only need to supply himself or herself with specified pants and boots.
ALERT Volunteer Waiver Form for non-emergency events
In order to participate in any ALERT non-emergency events, you must sign and submit this waiver. It releases the SFPD and the City & County of San Francisco from liability should you become injured or ill as a result of the activity. The form can be completed and returned by email to Mark Hernandez, at [email protected], or you can print it out and bring it with you to the event for which you have volunteered.
NOTE: No waiver is required during declared emergency deployments, as ALERT members will be covered by California’s Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program.
For more information: