We are halfway through 2021, and already, the US has experienced eight natural disasters that have caused losses in excess of $1 billion. And that’s before hurricane season has even started in the Southeast.
Disasters wreak havoc on the lives of people, on property and buildings, on the environment, and on just about everything else. When you are in the midst of a disaster that you didn’t prepare for, you are often scared, confused, and unable to act or make decisions.
That’s why a disaster response team is so critical. When disaster strikes, we need people on the ground who know how to handle the situation. We need people that guide victims to safety.
We need people who can organize the flow of traffic and distribute life-saving supplies. We need people who can mitigate damage and prevent future damage.
So what does disaster response actually look like? And why are disaster response services so critical? Keep reading to find out, since one day, you might have a disaster response team to thank.
What Is a Disaster Response Team?
A disaster response team is an organized group of individuals who are trained to respond to various types of disasters on short notice. Some are volunteer-based, offering general support in the event of a disaster.
Other teams employ highly-trained individuals to respond in more critical ways.
Either way, these teams can be assembled within minutes so that there is immediate support in the event of a disaster. They can provide guidance and support to disaster victims, and organize a situation in a way that most people can’t comprehend in the face of a disaster.
We don’t see disaster response teams until we need them. But when they show up, we are glad they are there and they are willing to lend a hand, and possibly even save our lives.
What Events Do Disaster Response Teams Respond To?
There are many different disaster response jobs and teams out there. Many of them are non-profit organizations, while others are for-profit companies.
And they all have a different area of focus. For example, The Red Cross is one of the most widely recognized disaster response organizations in the country. Regardless of what type of natural disaster our country faces, they have people responding within minutes.
While they definitely respond to major climate disasters, they also respond to smaller, localized events, such as home fires. Organizations like this have a vast network of staff and local volunteers who are ready to serve in any capacity at a moment’s notice.
Other organizations focus on difficult tasks, such as flood, hurricane, or earthquake relief. In these instances, whether in the US or international, events like this can displace thousands, if not millions from their homes for weeks or months on end.
Teams are vital at delivering and distributing lifesaving resources like clean water, imperishable foods, clothing, and temporary shelters. Some organizations focus on local efforts, while others focus on international disasters.
And still, other teams focus on highly specialized disasters, like a chemical spill. If you are not trained to handle events like a chemical spill, such as volunteers of larger organizations, they have no business responding to this disaster. The skills of a specialized chemical waste disposal service will be necessary to contain the spill, remove the waste, and clear n the area to once again make it safe.
Becoming a Disaster Response Technician
Are you looking for a rewarding career that offers you the chance to help people on a daily basis? If so, you can seek employment within a disaster response team.
Becoming a disaster response technician isn’t for the fainthearted, however. Depending on the event you are responding to, you may be working with injured people as well as those who have died.
One of the most important skills you can bring to the table is the ability to stay calm, cool, and collected. You will be working in intense, dangerous environments with people who are scared and confused.
They will be looking to you for guidance and support, and you need to be able to provide that at all times.
There are many different types of jobs you can pursue in this area. For those who don’t want to be on the front lines, there are many administrative roles that take place behind the scene to coordinate response efforts.
But if you want to be on the front lines, you’ll need extensive field training before you will be sent out to deal with real disasters.
Volunteering With Your Local Response Team
Want to help, but don’t necessarily want to switch your career? Many organizations depend on a network of volunteers.
By joining a local volunteer group, you can help respond to disasters in your community, without a huge time or financial commitment. Oftentimes, you may only need to volunteer for a few hours per week or per month.
Serving in this way can be very rewarding, as it connects you to your larger community. You will play a role in keeping your communities safe and reassuring neighbors that they are seen and supported.
Depending on the team you decide to join, there may be training required. In volunteer roles, you generally won’t be expected to handle injuries, death, or dangerous situations.
You will, however,r be expected to support those who are experiencing trauma, distributing supplies, and guiding people to safety. You need to be resilient and strong, as well as compassionate and empathetic.
You need to be able to keep your head in high-stress situations and be able to think and communicate clearly. If you think you are up for the task, research your local volunteer opportunities and apply today. The sooner you do, the sooner you can help those around you.
Thank a Disaster Response Team
The services of a disaster response team are vital, both in the US and abroad. These teams, whether volunteers or paid technicians are responsible for saving countless lives and supporting millions throughout traumatic situations.
If you ever see a team in action, be sure to thank them for their service. And if you want to help, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
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