More than 1,200 volunteers across 57 North Carolina counties have been trained to help in case of disasters, search and rescue operations, terrorist attack, or fire. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs get volunteers ready to supplement first responders. A Stateline story explains, “It [CERT] launched in response to the threat of earthquakes in cities like Los Angeles, but it soon found wider application. And in California, the teams continue to play a prominent role in responding to the wildfires that have swept through the state in recent years.”

Today, “a number of CERT programs around the country have specialized civilian response teams — such as animal rescuers and snowmobile drivers — who provide services typically not offered by local, state or federal responders.” Team members are able to provide assistance because of good Samaritan laws that protect those coming to the aid of a person or animal. Local governments use money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to train volunteers. Something to think about this hurricane season