The National CERT Association (NCA) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of supporting CERT Programs across the US and internationally. The National CERT Association has a written agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD), outlining the working relationship between the NCA and FEMA ICPD. One of the items defined in the agreement states that the National CERT Association will plan and execute National CERT Conferences in the United States.
The National CERT Association includes board members that represent CERT programs across the nation. The United States has been divided into ten regions, with two representatives from each region nominated to the NCA leadership board. These 20 representatives, along with members at large that represent other CERT disciplines and interest lead the National CERT Association. The Vice-Chair of the NCA leads the National CERT Conference sub-committee.
One of the benefits of hosting an annual National CERT Conference is the increased CERT exposure in the host state. Conference attendees are also more likely to attend a conference within their state, and especially within a two-hour driving distance. The host location must also have a commercial airport within 1 hour traveling distance.
The NCA strives to hold the National CERT Conference at different states throughout the US. Like many national conferences, such as National VOAD and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the national association does most of the planning and the host state provides staffing support and local funding and sponsorships.
Taking into account registration fees, a two and a half day conference, with up to three days of pre-conference training, roughly $60,000 to $100,000 will need to be fundraised to plan and execute a successful National CERT Conference. Some of these costs can be offset by pro-bono support. Pro-bono support includes local agencies printing conference materials and signage, providing Audio/Visual equipment, etc.
A National CERT Conference will typically have between 400-700 attendees. Generally over 50% of the attendees come from the host state.
To be eligible to host a National CERT Conference, the host state must be able to provide the following: