Villaraigosa spokeswoman Janelle Erickson said the mayor will work with Smith and the City Council to find money to continue the program. “It was not the mayor’s intent to stop the CERT program,” Erickson said. “What he wanted to do was find efficiencies and not reduce response times. We will work with the councilman to find ways to restore this program.” Smith said he will determine whether there are federal grants available to offset a portion of the cost. “And, even if that can’t be done, I think this is an important program that the city must continue to finance,” Smith said. “As you know, CERT can save lives and vastly bolsters our response capabilities by training residents to safely and quickly help themselves, their families and their neighbors.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed Monday to try to restore funding to a popular emergency-response training program after City Councilman Greig Smith launched a letter-writing campaign to protest its elimination. In his $6.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year, Villaraigosa failed to include $654,000 for the six firefighters assigned to the Community Emergency Response Team. The CERT program taught more than 50,000 civilians last year how to respond to emergencies, including fires, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. “I know we have a tight budget, but this is a program that makes no sense to cut,” said Smith, who asked the city’s neighborhood councils to send letters protesting the move. “This is one of those programs that people feel invested in and want to keep.” The city Fire Department developed the CERT program more than 20 years ago to help with earthquake response, and it has since been emulated nationwide. email@example.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!