Early Response Teams
The mission of an Early Response Team (ERT) is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster. These teams are neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery rebuild or repair team; rather they fill a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church.
Early Response Teams are intended to be small (7 to 12 people), self-sufficient and self-sustaining, with specialized skills for early response. While there are specific tasks assigned to early response teams, no task is more important than the people they serve.
What do Early Response Teams Do?
- Provide a Christian presence. This does not sound like a task… and is NOT; however, it can be the MOST important thing a team can do.
- Take steps to prevent further damage to a family’s personal property (stabilize):
- Cleaning out flooded or storm-affected homes
- Debris removal
- Tarping of roofs
A key phrase to describe the efforts of an ERT teams is to make a situation “safe, sanitary, and secure.”
- Teams may be asked to manage donated materials, gather information, or perform other tasks as deemed necessary by the community.
- Observe survivor’s needs and report these to the local operations.
- Be a part of the caring ministry of “listeners” who will help the survivor being to heal.
What will you learn in an ERT class?
- Lifecycle of a disaster
- The Who, What, When, and Why of Early Response Teams
- ERT protocols
- Equipping an ERT team
- Team safety
- Working with survivors
- Seven important things to know about disaster spiritual and emotional care
- Safe sanctuaries
- Organizational structure for the relief stage
How to become an ERT
- Applicants must attend a 7-hour class offered by an UMCOR-certified trainer
- Applicants must be 18 years or older
- Applicants must submit to a background check
At the conclusion of this process all eligible applicants will be issued an ERT badge good for three years.
At the end of three years ERTs are encouraged to continue their unique ministry by attending a three-hour ERT Refresher class.
Please see the “Trainings” link for dates and locations of upcoming ERT training events.
For more information, or to schedule an ERT Basic or Recertification class please contact Tom Vencuss at firstname.lastname@example.org.