CERT or Community Emergency Response Team, Seabrook

How many of you know there is a Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, located in Seabrook?  It is headed up by John Reynolds, a Seabrooker who has lived on the island full time since 2010, but has owned a Spinnaker since 1988.  John is well known on the island.  Tidelines featured a podcast with John, talking about his activities in the Civil Rights movement, which he documented in a book entitled The Fight for Freedom: A Memoir of My Years in the Civil Rights Movement.


When John moved full time to Seabrook he looked around for things to do that might be of interest to him.  He had spent many years as a pastor of his own church in Rhode Island and had also served as Assistant Chaplain at Brown University in Providence. It is his pastoral background that led him to CERT. John provided counseling to survivors, medical staff, and families of victims of the Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island, which killed 100 people.  This experience and subsequent training in Crisis Counseling, as well as the training he received as a volunteer firefighter in the rural town where he lived, provided him with skills he felt would be useful to him in an organization such as CERT.

CERT is an organization that utilizes a staff of volunteers who are trained in how to react in times of an emergency.  By emergency, they mean hurricanes, major floods, earthquakes, medical triage, search and rescue, to name just a few.   John got a notice of a meeting and training session, which he attended.  The event was hosted by Charleston County and John found his skill set was well suited to the CERT activities.

John became Team Leader for CERT in 2012.  He has a roster of 50 volunteers, but around 30 to 35 stay actively involved. Part of John’s job is to keep his volunteers well trained and to keep Seabrookers aware of their existence.  CERT falls under the jurisdiction of the POA, but it would be Charleston county or the town of Seabrook that would call them out.  On a national level, CERT is under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security.  CERT volunteers participate in regular drills to keep their skills up to date.

CERT keeps a trailer on Seabrook Island, located in the maintenance area near the gardens. They also store medical supplies and equipment, such as chainsaws and generators, that would be necessary in an emergency.  Several CERT members are licensed ham radio operators and check them regularly as they would be the only means of communication should a serious emergency occur which would undoubtedly take down all other forms of communication.

CERT also oversees the fourteen defibrillators located in different spots on the island, which have to be checked regularly to make sure they are in working order.

There will be an earthquake drill on June 6th and 7th, sponsored by the Town of Seabrook. CERT volunteers will take part in the training session.

CERT celebrated their 10th anniversary on April 7th.  Although they have yet to be called out for an emergency, aren’t we glad they are there in case one occurs?

Barbara Burgess

Tidelines Staff Writer

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