The Committee on Relief has three priorities: Response, Operations, and Relief. Welcome to our Disaster Response page. Response refers to the immediate work of volunteers and systems within and during a disaster. Specifically our Disaster Response Ministry focuses on disaster mitigation within our own Western North Carolina Conference.
- Please ready yourselves, your facilities, and any Early Response Teams.
- Familiarize yourself with the National Hurricane Center Resources: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov
- Familiarize yourself with Ready NC: https://readync.org/EN/Index.html
- Remember to respond with relief only after an invitation from the appropriate local leaders.
- Visit UMCOR at: https://www.umcor.org
Who Gets Deployed?
Early Response Teams
Early Response Teams (ERTs) are designed to provide a caring Christian presence of relief and assistance within their own home, region, district, or conference. As more and more disasters are occurring, ERTs are being invited to serve outside of their home more often to 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 Committee on Relief.
- ERT Training: Click here for training information.
- ERT Work in Western NC: Early Response Teams will be notified for deployment by the District or Conference Coordinator(s). Please only respond by invitation.
- ERT Work in other Conferences: Invitations to aid can be found at UMVIM or through the UMCOR Active Response Map.
- 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. These teams can also provide food or medical needs, depending on the team's capabilities. Teams may go in for a day or longer. While ERT training is helpful, it is not necessary if the need continues well after the disaster. Credentials are not required, however, the emergency management staff in a local community may set up their own process for managing volunteers working there.
Long Term Work Teams
Sometimes called Building Teams or Mission Teams, Long Term Work Teams are the teams that go into the affected area during the long-term recovery process to do repairs and rebuild houses or churches. 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.