Community Emergency Response Team

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A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group volunteer who are trained to assist their community in the event of a natural or man-made disasters when emergency services may not be immediately available. CERT is about readiness, people helping people, and doing the greatest good for the community. Residents who complete the CERT training will be more capable and ready to respond to emergency and disaster situations.


Winter 2018 Training Offering

Dorchester County is offering a winter 2018 CERT training. The training will take place over seven Thursday evenings and one Saturday morning. All trainings will be held at the Summerville Elks Lodge (105 Elks Lodge Lane, Summerville, SC 29483).

  • Thursday, Feb. 1 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 1 - Disaster Preparedness
  • Thursday, Feb. 8 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 2 - Fire Suppression and Safety
  • Thursday, Feb. 15 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 3 - Disaster Medical Operations - Part 1
  • Thursday, Feb. 22 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 4 - Disaster Medical Operations - Part 2
  • Thursday, March 1 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 5 - Light Search and Rescue Operations
  • Thursday, March 8 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 6 - CERT Organization and Course Review
  • Thursday, March 15 (6PM - 9PM): Unit 7 - Disaster Psychology and
    Unit 8 - Terrorism and CERT
  • Saturday, March 17 (9AM - 12PM): Final Exam, Skills Enrichment, and Disaster Simulation (Saturday, March 24th is the rain date)

Training Topics

Dorchester County Emergency Management offers two (fall and spring) public CERT trainings per year. CERT members are trained in the following topic areas:

  • Disaster Preparedness (3 hours)
    • Roles and responsibilities for community preparedness
    • Elements of disasters and their impact on the infrastructure
    • Personal and organizational preparedness
    • Role of CERTs
  • Fire Suppression/Safety (3 hours)
    • Fire chemistry
    • Fire and utility hazards
    • CERT sizeup
    • Fire sizeup considerations
    • Portable Fire Extinguishers
    • Fire suppression safety
    • Hazardous materials
  • Disaster Medical Operations (6 hours)
    • Life-threatening conditions
    • Medical triage
    • Public health considerations
    • Functions of disaster medical operations
    • Disaster medical treatment areas
    • Patient evaluation
    • Basic treatment
  • Light Search and Rescue (3 hours)
    • Search and rescue sizeup
    • Conducting interior and exterior search operations
    • Conducting rescue operations
  • CERT Team Organization (3 hours)
    • CERT organization
    • Rescuer Safety
    • Documentation
    • Team Organization
  • Disaster Psychology (1.5 hours)
    • Disaster psychology
    • Caring for yourself, your buddy, and survivors
  • Basic Terrorism Awareness (1.5 hours)
    • What terrorism is
    • Terrorist targets
    • Terrorist weapons
    • CBRNE Indicators
    • Preparing at home, work, and in your neighborhood
    • CERTs and Terrorist Incidents

The training ends with a (4 hour) hands-on disaster simulation, course review, and exam.

Trainings are usually held one-night per week over a seven week period. The Disaster simulation, course review, and exam are held on a Saturday morning. Participants must be a Tri-County resident and at least 18 years of age.

For more information and/or to register for the class, please contact Chris Soelle with the Emergency Management Department at (843) 832-0341. 


Community Service

Dorchester County CERT members may choose to stay involved by:

  • Providing first-aid, crowd control, or other services at community events 
  • Holding planning, training or recruitment meetings
  • Conducting or participating in disaster response exercises
  • Raising funds for emergency response equipment in their community

Lowcountry CERT

Residents are encouraged to join Lowcountry CERT after completing the eight-week training.  Lowcountry CERT is a not-for-profit 501 (C)(3) organization that sustains CERT groups in the Tri-County area.