You can help disaster survivors: Learn about early response teams at Harveyville – Osage County Online | Osage County News

You can help disaster survivors: Learn about early response teams at Harveyville

The rebuilt Harveyville United Methodist Church, shown here the day after it was destroyed in a Feb. 28, 2012, tornado, will be the site of early response team training Sept. 20.

Have you ever wondered how you can help when a disaster hits? Anyone who is willing to be involved with helping others following a disaster is invited to an early response team training at 9 a.m-4 p.m. Sept. 20, at Harveyville United Methodist Church, 371 Wabaunsee St., Harveyville, Kan.

The purpose of the early response team is to fill the need in the early days after a disaster of a Christian presence of the church. ERTs respond only after they have been requested by the impacted community, and do the following:

  • Provide a Christian presence, be a part of the caring ministry of listeners.
  • Take steps to prevent further damage to a family’s personal property, such as tarps, flood clean-out, debris removal.
  • Help manage donated materials, gather information, or do other things needed in the community.
  • Observe survivors’ needs and report those to the local disaster operations.

Various tasks are assigned to ERTs by those selected by the community to command the response, but ERTs have an important task of helping survivors begin to heal. Teams and team members must pledge to be part of the solution and not become the problem; to join in the response rather than initiate their own desires. ERT team members must obtain Safe Gatherings certification, and be able to respond with little advance notice, putting personal plans on hold when the call comes.

The training is hosted by the Chair-Great Plains United Methodist Church Disaster Response Team. Steve Burnett, chairman of Great Plains UMC Disaster Response Team and regional disaster response coordinator for the team’s east region, will be the instructor.

A registration fee of $25 covers course materials, snacks and instructor travel costs. Attendees are asked to bring a sack lunch. Registration and information is available here:

Harveyville was turned into a disaster site on Feb. 28, 2012, when a tornado cut a path through the town, killing one person and injuring several others. Numerous buildings in town were destroyed or damaged, including the Harveyville United Methodist Church, which was completely destroyed. The training will be held at the new church. See related story here.

Photo copyright 2012 Wayne White.

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