Coastside CERT

A nonprofit organization

$5,070 raised by 18 donors

39% complete

$13,000 Goal

POWER HOUR May 2 8:00-8:59 AM

Are you ready for an emergency, a disaster, or an extended period of isolation here on the Coastside?

Prepared and resilient individuals make good neighbors. Resilient neighborhoods contribute to a Coastside community ready to overcome natural disasters and other emergencies in a coordinated, inclusive, and proactive way.

Our unique program is designed to create a dual network that (1) trains CERTs how to be force multipliers for our fire department, providing them with accurate, actionable information, and (2) supports neighborhoods to self-organize in support of each other with common sense communications, cooperation, resource management, and risk mitigation. We believe this effort will create a prepared and resilient community that will have an orderly and calm response to a disaster.

In an emergency, most of us, if we are able, will try to help. However, trained volunteers are far more likely to be able to protect themselves and their families, stay safe while helping others, and work effectively with first responders as an asset rather than a hindrance. With three engines, ten firefighters, and one ambulance on the Coastside, first responders need "boots on the ground" in every neighborhood to serve as force multipliers -- helping one another and communicating accurate information to guide first responders to those in greatest need.

Coastside CERT is focused on creating ready and resilient neighborhoods from Montara to Tunitas Creek. We provide free training to prepare residents to save themselves and their families, help neighbors with emergency needs, and quickly and accurately communicate with first responder agencies. This training is offered at no cost to those living on the Coast in both English & Spanish. Instruction in Chinese is available.

Graduates of CERT training return to their own neighborhoods to develop local grassroots communication and response networks, grounded in community involvement and practice, and designed to provide timely and accurate situational awareness to first responders. When telecommunications are down, Coastside CERT/neighborhood teams communicate with each other within their neighborhoods via Walkie-Talkie radios and outside the neighborhoods via Ham radios operated by neighborhood Hams and/or members of Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Hams in the neighborhoods relay vital situational information to first responders.

This common sense approach to how to live successfully in our gorgeous but isolation-prone Coastside environment with its vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters has gathered remarkable momentum since becoming formally affiliated with the Coastside Fire Protection District in 2019. Growing from 296 members, 56 CERTs, and 47 Ham radio operators in January 2019 to 2,300 members, 445 CERTs, and 144 Hams today in 32 Coastside neighborhoods, with new folks signing up for training every week. We are actively distributing $167,000 in grant-funded emergency supplies to our neighborhoods. Coastside CERT, in partnership with ALAS, the City of Half Moon Bay, & LISTOS, trained 177 LISTOS graduates, predominantly in Spanish and mostly from our local farmworker community.

Coastside CERT's Program Manager & Lead Instructor, David Cosgrave, has dedicated himself to providing this community with emergency response training for the past 25 years. His vision of a trained community of citizens is now being realized. Chief Cosgrave and his team teach free basic training including fire safety, light search & rescue, triage, and first aid, as well as advanced CERT courses, refresher courses, and topics of local interest: Incident Command System, How to Survive a Fire in the Tom Lantos Tunnels, Residential Solar Energy, Caring for Pets in an Emergency, Gas & Electricity Safety, and more. Coastside CERT teaches organizational structure, disciplined chain of command, specific communication protocols, and other guidelines so multiple agencies, both professional and volunteer, can work together in response to community needs during an emergency or disaster.

Additionally, Coastside CERT is actively working with all other volunteer and professional emergency response organizations on the Coastside to develop a unified emergency response plan for the benefit of all Coastside residents, with a focus on our most vulnerable community members.

This is our one-time ask for community donations each year. We do not charge for classes or materials to provide everyone with equal access to emergency preparedness and response training.  Please help us continue to expand this important volunteer service mission for the Coastside community free of charge.


"In fact, there is likely no better local example of how a little public investment coupled with a spirit of community service can make an incalculable difference in the lives of real people."

Clay Lambert, former Editorial Director & Publisher, Half Moon Bay Review
Op/Ed article on Coastside CERT

Giving Activity


Coastside CERT is an emergency preparedness & response volunteer organization working at the grassroots level to create ready & resilient neighborhoods from Montara to Tunitas Creek. Led by San Mateo County Department of Emergency Management District Coordinator David Cosgrave & his team, we offer free (trilingual) training through the fire department to residents, teaching you how to save yourself & your family, help your neighbors, and communicate with first responders. We provide mutual aid to all emergency response agencies in our own and bordering communities.


Our most urgent need is for funding to continue to provide free emergency preparation and response training classes in English, Spanish, and Chinese, offering introductory to advanced classes to all adult residents of the Coastside.

This is our one-time ask for community donations each year. We do not charge for classes or materials so that everyone has equal access to emergency preparedness and response training. Our operations are 100% community-funded. Coastside Gives is our primary source of operating funds. Please help us continue to carry out this important volunteer service mission for the Coastside community free of charge.

Organization Data


Organization name

Coastside CERT

Organization Category

Emergency Preparedness

Operating Budget

$0- $50,000


1191 Main St
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019