Dorchester County Emergency Management is coordinating Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to help communities prepare for disasters.

CERTs are groups of volunteers who are trained to assist during disasters when emergency services may not be immediately available.

Members are trained in disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, and basic terrorism awareness.

Lowcountry CERT is the members' nonprofit organization that sustains CERTs locally.

When not responding to a disaster, members provide first-aid, crowd control, or other services at community events; conduct or participate in disaster response exercises; and raise funds for emergency response equipment in their community.

Free classes are offered by the Dorchester County Emergency Management Department to residents 18 years and older,. They will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays for eight weeks beginning June 5 at Fire Company #3, 134 South Railroad Ave., Harleyville.

For more information, visit To register, call Theresa McKnight at (843) 832-0341.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.