North Carolina volunteers play crucial role during hurricane season

First responders are first and last on the scene when a disaster strikes, but volunteers across North Carolina also play an important role in keeping people safe.

One of those groups is the Special Needs Registry in New Hanover County.

This is a voluntary registry for people who would need assistance in the event of an emergency; like a tropical system.

People eligible for this registry include the elderly, frail and disabled.

First responders take note of the people on this list and allow time to adequately help them in time of need.

As hurricane season approaches, volunteers on the registry will check the list to make sure people have a hurricane kit in place.

They also take note of specific things a person might need in an emergency situation, like an oxygen tank or a wheelchair.

Additionally, transportation and equipment can be set up at a specific shelter if someone on this list needs to evacuate.

New Hanover County has another group of volunteers known as the Community Emergency Response Team - CERT.

The goal of CERT is to train people to help themselves as well as neighbors immediately after a disaster.

Their job isn't to act as first responders, but to be a crucial line of defense after a disaster like a hurricane strikes.

These volunteers know their community like the back of their hand so in some cases they can distribute help before the professionals arrive.

Some of the subjects covered in CERT basic training include disaster preparedness, fire safety, and search and rescue.

Fifty-seven counties across the state have CERT programs and there are over 1200 volunteers.

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