CERT training better prepares Georgetown Co. for disasters, emergencies

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Georgetown County is getting more help from the community in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.

A free, 7-week Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) basic training course concluded Tuesday evening in Murrells Inlet with a practical exercise. The effort aims to train community members on how to better protect their neighborhoods, families and themselves in an emergency or disaster.

Georgetown County Emergency Management Director Sam Hodge says the specialized training allows participants to help bridge the gap between when a disaster happens and first responders arrive on scene.

“In the long-run, it’s better for the emergency responders because they’re trained in first aid. They’re trained in to know how to look for the three killers, how to treat for shock and allergic reactions and how to cut off their utilities in the home if they have a gas leak,” Hodge explained.

According to officials, Georgetown County Emergency Management adopted the program from the national CERT Program.

“We give them a backpack full of disaster supplies – from screwdrivers to ductape, bandage materials, flashlights, hard hats, gloves and all the proper equipment they will need, so that when a disaster happens – whether its a tornado or flood or an earthquake – they’re ready to step out of their house or vehicle and go to action to help their family or neighbors until the professional rescuers get there,” Hodge added.

Hodge says the county has seen a variety of CERT Programs set up for neighborhoods, community groups, schools and faith-based groups. For more information on the CERT Program and how you can get involved in the training, call Georgetown County Emergency Management.