Patriot Emergency Response Team Has a Heart to Help People in Need

Even before he joined the Patriot Emergency Response Team (PERT) three years ago, Jason Lis was all about helping people. In fact, that’s how he met members of the group.

“Disasters bring everyone together,” said Lis, now one of PERT’s Florida state managers and a security officer for the group’s national team. “I ran into a couple PERT members a few years ago when I was in North Carolina with my little team helping people immediately following Hurricane Matthew.”

Lis said he learned at an early age how devastating hurricanes can be and how much help people need during and after extreme weather events.

“I grew up in North Carolina, which is the hurricane capital of the world,” he said. “Helping there off and on, getting training with law enforcement and fire departments… it just seemed natural to do it.

“I was raised in a military family, so giving back to the community was kind of instilled in me. But I picked up more and more interest in doing that as I grew up.”

Filling in the Gaps

PERT is a non-profit 501(c)(3) group composed solely of humanitarian volunteers. The 10-year-old organization gives support and services before, during and after disasters in a variety of ways, including a dispatch center.

This is especially vital when the 911 phone system goes down. Or becomes flooded with calls so that people are unable to ask for help through regular channels.

“Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018 was a prime example of this,” Lis said. “What do you do when all the systems failed? Everything failed, including cellphones and communications.

“In Florida, Bay County, Gulf County, Jackson County… they all went dark for a week. The government had a lot of people in there, but they couldn’t cover the whole area. That’s where we came in.”

Ready and Willing

Lis made it clear that PERT volunteers do not just rush into an area when they learn of a disaster. They contact local authorities – or are contacted – before going in.

“We don’t go in without permission,” Lis said. “We work with them and assist them, especially when it comes to search and rescue operations. We’re all trained and we all have certification.

“We’re not glory hounds. We don’t want to be in front of a camera and we don’t want any recognition for what we do. All we ask for in return is… nothing. We’re all self-funded.

“Our volunteers are on call. We have search and rescue people, dispatchers, warehouse people and those who just volunteer their time to help people in need.”

Lis said PERT volunteers are active in 30 states. They have a manager in each state and a national team of about 75 people who will go just about anywhere, anytime. And they have about 500 volunteers at any given time.

Rescue, Relief, Recovery & Rebuilding

There are four phases to a typical PERT operation – rescue, relief, recovery and rebuilding.

In the rescue phase, PERT’s certified emergency responder search and rescue teams, drone teams, helicopters and airplane units provide assistance while looking for missing people and their pets.

In the relief phase, PERT members are on the ground in severely impacted areas, providing lifesaving food, water and shelter to survivors, working around the clock.

In the recovery phase, PERT members assist local people so they can begin to help themselves. Local volunteers are recruited to assist in food and water distribution, obtaining supplies and miscellaneous items such as baby food, diapers and pet food.

In the rebuilding phase, PERT members assist survivors in the process of cleaning out/mucking out their homes and rebuilding. PERT members form partnerships with other non-profit groups, plus local, county, state and federal agencies and community members so they can begin to assist themselves and rebuild their lives.

Help From 4Patriots

“Fortunately, we get a lot of help from businesses like 4Patriots,” Lis said.

We first found out about Lis and his team when he shared this picture on Facebook showing how his team cased up a handful of our power cells to be ready to deploy for the next disaster:


We were interested to find out more, and reached back out to Lis through Facebook. After discovering what all his team does, we decided to send donations of survival food and more Patriot Power Cells to help.

Lis says: “The Power Cells have come in handy for us, to keep our phones charged. For families that don’t have enough power in their phones, we let them use the Power Cells to get their phones fired up so they can get help to get out of the area.

“And we hand out the survival food and water to those affected by the disaster.”

Back to the Founder

“This all goes back to our founder, James Sache and his wife, Irs. He’s wheelchair bound, but he gets out there and does whatever it takes to help, including cooking and dispatching.”

Lis said it comes down to having a heart to help people.

“I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly with this,” Lis said. “I’ve seen a family of four that didn’t make it, but I’ve also seen others survive and rebuild to a point where they regained some semblance of normalcy after a disaster.

“For me, it’s about being able to give back to a community that’s given me so much. I have the training and knowledge to help people in need, and I’m not going to waste that.

“Our volunteers are the same way. They want to help those less fortunate who can’t do it themselves.”


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