Disaster Recovery Teams Explained

EARLY RESPONSE TEAMS go into an affected area after the first responders have secured the area and invited them in. Their purpose is to assist survivors to be “safe, sanitary and secure” which includes being a compassionate listener as survivors tell their story. Work may include removing debris, mucking out, tarping a roof, etc. ERTs must be self-contained since housing, food, electricity, etc. may not be available in or near the affected area. Because the work is often spiritually and emotionally draining, as well as physically exhausting, ERTs are usually deployed for only 3-4 days at a time. Conference ERTs are trained, credentialed and registered through the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the conference.
Click here for the training schedule.

DISASTER RESPONSE TEAMS are volunteer work teams who enter the affected area after ERTs have completed their work. Typically, disaster teams are doing clean-up and debris removal only. Teams may go in for a day or longer. Housing may or may not be available depending on the size and type of disaster. While ERT training is helpful, it is not necessary. Credentials are not required; however, the emergency management staff in a local community may set up their own process for managing volunteers working there.

VOLUNTEER WORK TEAMS are the teams that go into the affected area during the long-term recovery process to do repairs and rebuild houses. These teams are usually working with the long-term recovery organization in the area who is doing case management to identify needs and resources. While construction and/or “handy man” type skills are highly desired, they are not necessary. Volunteer work teams may work in an area for a day, a weekend, a week or longer. Usually housing is available through local churches who may offer their fellowship hall and kitchen for the volunteers to use while working in the area. Credentials are not required.

SPIRITUAL RESPONSE TEAMS are specially trained teams who provide a listening presence for survivors to share their experiences. They may also collect information and make referrals, or they may assist with preliminary damage assessments in an area. SRT's may go in very early in the relief phase (after ERTs have left the area) or as long as a year or two after the disaster. Their primary purpose is to listen to survivors, provide spiritual and emotional care resources and “be the church” for those affected by disaster. SRT members are trained, credentialed and registered through the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the conference. 
Click here for the training schedule.

Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011