South Carolina Emergency
Response Task Force

Protect. Prevent. Train. Respond.

SC Emergency Response Task Force (SCERTF)

The role of Emergency Response is to assist local, regional, and state governments in times of need. The SC Emergency Response Task Force (SCERTF) offers initial and long-term responses to natural and man-made disasters. Its primary focus is to provide immediate resources to local and regional fire service agencies.

We appreciate your interest in joining the SCERTF that encompasses three different organizations:

  • South Carolina Urban Search and Rescue (SC-TF1),
  • South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (SC-HART), and
  • South Carolina Firefighter Mobilization (SCFFMOB).

Below are the requirements and necessary steps to join our team. Additionally, interviews are conducted twice a year and applicants are asked to have patience when attempting to join.

SC-Task Force 1

Applicant must be a member of a public safety organization (Fire, EMS, or Police) and have full support from said organization. The following is also mandatory:

  • Chief, or agency director, must sign the "Applicant Endorsement""" page on the application prior to submission.
  • Applicant must be able to pass a State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) background check (conducted by South Carolina State Fire), complete and pass a physical agility test, as well as a drug screening, and applicant must adhere to State Fire operational and safety procedures.
  • Applicant must possess and maintain a valid South Carolina driver's license.

Preferred Classes

The following basic certifications are preferred, but not required:

  • Firefighter I
  • Basic First Aid or higher
  • Confined Space Ops
  • Auto Extrication
  • NIMS - ICS Courses
  • Hazardous Materials Operations
  • Rope Rescue Ops
  • Trench Rescue Ops
  • Swift Water Ops

Application Submission Process

Once an application is submitted to South Carolina Task Force 1, the following steps will occur:

  • Received applications are reviewed and either approved or denied.
    • Approved applicants are contacted and provided an interview date.
    • Interviews, under normal circumstances, are conducted twice a year.
  • Interviews take place in front of a panel of current Task Force 1 members.
  • If approved by the interview panel, the applicant is invited to undergo the physical agility portion of the new member testing (same day).
  • Applicant is required to successfully complete the physical agility test.

Upon successful completion of the interview panel, physical agility test, and required screenings listed above, the applicant is considered a probationary member and is added to the SC-TF1 tracking and communications system. Once the applicant becomes a probationary member, the Chief, or agency director, must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

South Carolina HART

SCERTF continues to partner with the SC National Guard to offer a statewide helicopter aquatic rescue program. If you are interested in joining SC-HART, you must be an active SC-TF1 member and successfully pass the following classes and skills:

Process for Joining

To apply, the applicant must:

  • Be a member of SC-TF1, in good standing, for a period of two years,
  • Receive written consent from Task Force Command Staff,
  • Maintain all membership and attendance requirements for SC-TF1, and
  • Successfully complete required classes and skills.

Required Classes

  • Rope Rescue, Operations, NFPA 1670 and 1006 (or SCFA equivalent)
  • Hazardous Materials, Operations, NFPA and 1006
  • Swift Water Rescue, Operations, NFPA 1670 and 1006
  • NIMS Incident Command System (ICS) 100, 200, 700, 800, ESF-9 (free online)
  • WMD/Terrorism for Emergency Responders Awareness level (free online)
  • Any WMD Incident Management/Unified Command (ICS 300/400)

Required Skills

The applicant must have a full understanding of the South Carolina Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement, have no fear of heights or flying, and be in (and maintain) top physical condition with intermediate to advanced swimming abilities. Additionally, the applicant must have the ability to complete the following tests and courses:

  • NFPA 1670 Swim Test, including the ability to swim 400 meters unaided in 8 minutes and tread water for 20 minutes
  • Successfully complete the SC-HART Helicopter Rescue Technician Task Book

Application Process for Qualified HART Candidates

Applicant must submit a HART Rescuer Application to administration within the announced deadline. A cover letter must be included explaining why the candidate wants to join HART. The applicant must:

  • Complete the application packet, in its entirety, to include the cover letter and copies of required certifications,
  • Confirm sponsoring agencies commitment to additional HART membership,
  • Participate in HART interview panel, and
  • Successfully complete swim test.

Post-Membership Required Classes

SC-HART members must keep their skills sharp and continue to train. Members must successfully complete:

  • 80 hours Advanced Swift Water Rescue Technician Course
  • 80 hours Helicopter Rescue Technician Course with UH-60 Blackhawk and/or LUH-72 Lakota flight time
  • Rope Rescue, Technician, NFPA 1607 and 1006
  • SARTECH I, II, and III
  • Helicopter Safety and Landing Zone Coordinator
  • Helicopter Rescue Technician, Air Crew Member

To maintain current levels, SC-HART members complete training for its rescuers no less than every 90 days.

Download the application to join SC-TF1.