What / Who is SORT?

"To provide the highest level of disaster medical support through education, research and response"


 History of the Organization:

The Special Operations Response Team, or "SORT" is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 1978 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Its mission is to Provide the Highest Level of Disaster Medical Support through Education, Research and Response. SORT incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1988.

SORT is based in Forsyth County, North Carolina. The team's personnel include physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMT's, firefighter's, law enforcement officers, hazmat technicians, critical incident stress management technicians, chaplains, and logistical support members. SORT stands by or responds to mass crowd gatherings, natural and man made disasters, mass casualty incidents or evacuation situations, hazardous materials spills, and has a trained division of SWAT medic's that respond with local law enforcement SWAT teams. SORT is an "All-Hazards" response team.

In 1990, SORT's members were selected as a Disaster Medical Assistance TEAM (DMAT NC-1) of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), a nationwide system of medical response teams with supplied equipment cache's originally organized by the U.S. Public Health Service and presently under the National Disaster Medical System, (NDMS) United States Department of Health and Human Service (US DHHS)

In 1995, SORT's members were again selected by the federal government to form a second team called National Disaster Medical Team - East (NMRT-E)  This team provides advanced medical care (at the physician level) to victim's exposed to a hazardous material; be it a weapons of mass destruction incident or an accidental industrial exposure. This team is trained to decontaminate victims suffering from exposure to a contaminate and provide stabilizing medical treatment at the site of where the event occurred. NMRT-E can also assist other teams by providing rehabilitation to it's own members during an incident, providing medical care in communities at the small strike team level, or assisting an overwhelmed hospital emergency department.

The SORT organization is structured into divisions including - Medical, Special Medical Needs Population, HazMat, Critical Incident Stress Management, Logistics, and Tactical Medical Support for Law Enforcement SWAT teams - in addition to staff functions including Administration, Occupational Health Services, public information, and medical support for mass crowd gatherings.


The team's primary function is the provision of medical care; hence, these divisions often overlap in their responsibilities, as all functions are healthcare-related. Generally, SORT provides services for planned events and unplanned occurrences. SORT may be called up in different forms for local and away response. For example, local responses often take the form of medical standbys for college or professional sports, community social events, and VIP visits. SORT may also respond locally for unplanned occurrences such as major fires, hazardous materials spills, missing person searches, mass casualty or evacuation incidents, or unusual law enforcement events.


SORT members come from many walks of life. Most have jobs in the field of healthcare, although that is not a requirement to join SORT. Members include doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMT'S, psychologists, chaplains, medical technologists, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, law enforcement officers, preventive medical specialists, hazardous materials specialists, professional business communicators, electricians, craftsmen and many others who are interested in public service.


A readily deployable response team depends on well-trained, prepared and organized personnel to ensure successful missions. To keep in an operational readiness state, SORT performs at least two weekend disaster training exercises annually in addition to educational sessions at regular monthly meetings and other specialty-specific training programs.

Funding for SORT is provided primarily from the provision of occupational health services on an ongoing contract basis for local government and industry, hospital employee hazmat training and regulation compliance consulting for industry. Corporate sponsors, namely Novant Health, Inc., Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, provide other supplies and funding such as needs for office space, equipment, maintenance, insurance and training. Some funding sources include community contributions, corporate gifts, and foundation grants. SORT also receives funding by charging for services rendered at planned events.


Founded in 1978, SORT is a private non-profit corporation. It is located in the central Piedmont area of in North Carolina (Winston-Salem).

SORT has, for 29 years, trained Fire, Law Enforcement, Hospital Staff and EMS personnel to manage the effects of natural disasters, hazardous material incidents, terrorist activities and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
SORT members responded to Hurricane Floyd in 1999 providing disaster medical services.

SORT provides medical care services for Wake Forest University, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Salem College at their graduations and other mass crowd gatherings in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

SORT recently (3/07) provided a round-the-clock medical care standby at an statewide Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training for 4 days in Charlotte, North Carolina.

SORT responds as a disaster medical team and hazmat team both locally and statewide and is a member/partner of North Carolina's State Emergency Response Team; (SERT) part of the NC Crime Control and Public Safety Emergency Management Division. SORT has been designated as the state's SMAT I Team. (State Medical Assistance Team I )

Click HERE to link to the NC SMAT website

SORT is a member of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

  SORT and the SORT logo are Registered Trademarks. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 1998-2007  


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