US Disaster Response Teams
Before Volunteers Arrive
US communities that have experienced a major disaster will most-likely benefit from volunteer teams to help in the long-term recovery process. In the days, and often weeks, immediately after a disaster the community will need time to secure the area, assess damage, and coordinate a response before volunteer teams arrive on the scene. Normally, the only persons allowed in such areas immediately after disasters are certified personnel and law enforcement officials.
When and How You Can Help
To register your interest in helping a community struck by a disaster and to learn when and how you can help, call the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Volunteer Hotline, 1-800-918-3100. You will be registered to receive information on volunteering at a site and will be contacted as the area is able to receive volunteers. You can also contact your jurisdictional volunteer coordinator to find out about Volunteers in Mission teams going to the affected area.
NOTE: Always coordinate with an organization working in the disaster area before arriving. Deciding to volunteer on your own without coordinating with an organization can lead to personal harm as well as hinder the work of others.
Early Response Teams
There are volunteers who are specially certified to help communities shortly after a disaster strikes. These Early Response Teams (ERTs) have received special training from UMCOR and are credentialed so that they may enter disaster zones. ERT training sessions are regularly held around the US.
Plan a Team
Assistance in preparing a team for service in long-term disaster recovery is available from your jurisdictional and annual conference UMVIM coordinators and annual conference Disaster Response Coordinator. They can also connect you with the Disaster Response network within your annual conference.