Early Response Training Oct-Nov

A woman uses a wheelbarrow to remove debris on a United Methodist disaster response site in South Carolina after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. ~photo courtesy of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church

Michigan Disaster Coordinators announce five Early Response training sessions this fall.
Early Responders are trained volunteers who are deployed in the early stages of a disaster. They are an important part of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) program.

The Early Response Team (ERT) training prepares individuals to go into the affected area for three days after a natural disaster has hit to help families begin the process of putting their lives back in order.

The work of the ERT is to “be a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster”.

Caring presence takes several forms. Early Responders work with families to make their home and yard safe by picking up debris, tarping roofs, removing and sorting items that were harmed, tearing out damaged carpet and dry wall. It may also include mucking out a basement or cleaning where mold has begun to grow.

This is a significant ministry that begins the journey back to normal for those affected by a disaster.

The Disaster Response Team of the Michigan Area is setting up ERT sessions. Here’s what’s on the calendar so far. All trainings run 9am to 5pm.

If you believe that working for three days of intense sharing, caring, sorting, sifting and lifting sounds like a ministry for you, then consider these training opportunities.

If you have already taken the basic course but your certification has lapsed, this course will cover your recertification.

An ERT Training Event is an 8-hour day of learning the history, mission and purpose of being part of an Early Response Team. During this time you will learn about working with victims of natural disasters, how to help, both what to do as volunteers and what not to do.

Training includes hands-on experience to try tarping a roof, scrubbing a wall, or deciding how much drywall to cut out of a house that has been harmed by flooding. participants get a basic idea about site safety and the seven roles that are needed for each team.

At the end of the training participants receive a manual, a t-shirt, and a badge certifying that they have been trained to go into an area after the First Responders have done their work and it is deemed safe for volunteers to enter.

The cost of the training is $35 per person. This covers the Training Manual, t-shirt, badge, lunch and snacks. Contact the person specified above; he or she will provide registration material including a Criminal Background Check form. Registration deadline for each of these Saturday events is the Wednesday before the event.

Local churches willing to host additional ERT training should contact Bob McCormick; 810-357-5617; mccor1958@gmail.com.

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