Education, Integrity, Professionalism
(Disaster Code Enforcement Response Teams)
Education - Integrity - Professionalism
Disaster Code Enforcement Response Team
Below you will find a Question and Answer Sheet, as well as an application to serve on the State DCERT Team. We would like to ask Code Enforcement Officials to volunteer for these teams to assist other jurisdictions following an incident. We would not ask that you respond to every incident, we would like to establish an on call list for each month of the year. For further information concerning DCERT please contact Russell Reeves at the team lead contact below:
Disaster Code Enforcement Response Teams
P.O. Box 17
Greenville, NC 27835
Frequently Asked Questions for DCERT Deployments
Q: What is the DCERT program?
A: DCERT stands for Disaster Code Enforcement Response Team. Effectively it is inspectors helping other inspectors following an emergency. This is a county based program supervised by the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) through the Web EOC process. Essentially a municipality in need would request assets through their county EM coordinator. The Web EOC request for inspector assistance is made to the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The request is then forwarded to representatives of the North Carolina Building Inspectors Association (NCBIA), who contacts team leaders in the region which was unaffected by the disaster. Upon filling the request, the team leaders inform their personnel to contact OSFM for further deployment instructions.
Q: What type of Inspections am I doing ?
A: Inspectors will be doing post disaster inspections to determine habitability. These are not to be confused with the initial response to a disaster which will require a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) to determine the extent of damage to an particular area. These are done specifically for two programs; Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA).
Q: Is the jurisdiction reimbursed?
A: As long as the request comes through the county EM coordinator and is placed on Web EOC, it will be assigned a mission number. Typically any task with a mission number is a reimbursable activity. However the responding county/city will not be seeking reimbursement from FEMA. Since the responding county is not the “declared” or affected county, their request for reimbursement is sent to the county/city for which they provided assistance. The affected county which received the assistance pays the responding county/city that the DCERT member works for. The DCERT member must seek reimbursement in accordance with the established practice in the county/city they are employed. The county/city that requested the assistance will turn their expenses into FEMA and the state Emergency Management Division for reimbursement under the PA program. If a disaster is declared, the reimbursement will come from FEMA, if not then a partial reimbursement may come from the state.
Q: What form does the county/city I’m employed by use to submit for reimbursement?
A: In an attempt to make reimbursement requests uniform for the DCERT teams, NCBIA has been provided with the state estimation forms for reimbursement. These forms may be utilized by counties/cities to request reimbursement from the county for which assistance was provided.
Q: What is a mission number?
A: A mission number is assigned to a task entered into Web EOC. Without a mission number, the operation is occurring without the knowledge of Emergency Management or OSFM and would subsequently not be tracked. DCERT members should never activate for a mission without a Mission Number. OSFM will not deploy DCERT without a mission number, and responding counties should be aware that without the mission number, they are acting with no assurance or documentation of performing a reimbursable activity.
Q: What am I expected to do pre-deployment?
A: The DCERT member is required to get all clearances from management to deploy before the disaster occurs and the request for assistance is made. Once a call for deployment is received by OSFM, there cannot be a waiting period for clearance from county managers or supervisory staff to respond. All permissions should be received prior to the disaster, pack a bag the day before and carry it to work with you if it is a forecasted disaster (such as a flood or hurricane). A slight lag time in response is expected when the disaster is not forecasted.
Where will I report when asked to help? OSFM will have the deployment information for all responding personnel. All responders must check in with the OSFM coordinator regularly. For example, check ins are expected at a minimum of when leaving their primary area, when arriving to the requesting county, and at the beginning and end of every day. Contact information for the OSFM contact will be provided previous to your departure.
Q: What equipment do I need?
A: The DCERT team will be supplied with most equipment that will be used. Any necessary equipment from the responding county is covered under the mission and may be billable back to the requesting county. Any equipment damaged or destroyed during deployment shall be billed to the requesting county, which should request for reimbursement from FEMA for the equipment.
Q: What level of certifications and training do I need, Level 1, 2 or 3?
A: The requesting county/city will specify what level inspector is required. It is possible to be deployed as a Level I inspector, but chances of deployment increase as the level of inspector increases. Specialized DCERT training in customized procedures for the DCERT team is currently under development and will be presented in the near future.
What inspection forms do I need to identify issues? Forms previously developed by the requesting jurisdiction will serve the DCERT inspector for code issues. A form is currently being developed for consistency of reporting and will be part of the customized training.
Q: Will I be performing non-emergency functions (i.e. completing standard inspections for the jurisdiction)?
A: Under no circumstances should any DCERT team member perform activities which are not disaster related. The only work that is reimbursable by FEMA is disaster related work. If you are requested by the requesting county to perform standard permit inspections unrelated to the mission number and subsequently unrelated to storm damage, the DCERT team member should inform the requesting county representative that they must contact the OSFM coordinator prior to you being re-tasked.
Q: Where will I stay at night?
A: Overnight accommodations are ultimately the responsibility of the requesting county. Accommodations can be obtained by a representative of the responding county or inspector as long as it is within reasonable travel distance (less than 60 miles) to the work station. The OSFM coordinator can be contacted for possible information on the closest available lodging locations; however, when a disaster is severe enough, there is the possibility of lodging not being available. The DCERT equipment includes air mattresses and tents if out door accommodations are necessary.
Q: Do I need to drive my own car?
A: The responding county should provide a vehicle for the DCERT team member. Resources such as vehicles are typically not readily available in disaster areas. Requesting counties will be expecting the DCERT team member to come fully equipped including a vehicle.
Q: How does the workers comp work?
A: Workers Comp Insurance is expected to be provided by the county the DCERT member is employed by, despite responding to a different location. Policies are expected to cover a redeployed employee regardless of their geographical location as long as the injury is work related.
Q: How do I prepare for a possible deployment?
A: As discussed earlier, get pre-approval from all administration and management staff necessary. As part of the DCERT team, access to flooded areas will be a likely event. A Hepatitis B vaccine, rabies vaccine, tetanus, and any other hazardous duty vaccines should be kept up to date in case of deployment. The DCERT member should pack a ready bag and contact their individual team leader to indicate they are a deployable resource. Team leaders should keep a list of members volunteering for the event.
Q: Who do I contact for more information?
A: Contacts for DCERT team membership will be provided through the North Carolina Building Inspectors Association (NCBIA). A primary team leader and regional team leaders will also be provided by the NCBIA. If you are not a Member of the NCBIA and still wish to participate you can contact Rob Roegner from the Office of State Fire Marshal at 919-661-5880 ext. 249 for DCERT contact information.
2017 Building Inspector of the Year : Ernie Wilkes, City of Raleigh
2017 Edison "Hubert" Johnson Award: Amy Britt, Town of Clayton