The United Methodist Role in Disaster Response
United Methodists are dedicated to long term recovery efforts following a disaster. We strive to provide what assistance we can from start to finish through prayer, funds and volunteer efforts. For more information on how you can be involved in disaster response please contact Dan Steska at the Office of Creative Ministries.
Hover over or click on the individual bars below to see an expanded definition of the disaster response role.
We respond by invitation only. If a disaster occurs in a different conference we must wait for that conference to notify us that response is beyond the scope of their local volunteers. If the disaster occurs in the Missouri Conference our staff is in immediate contact with the local district disaster response coordinator and the superintendent who notify us of local needs.
We work in cooperation with local city and state government agencies to ensure that we are meeting genuine needs and not duplicating response. Many times local residents are eligible for government assistance through FEMA for clean up and rebuilding. It is important that we operate in cooperation with these agencies so that local residents can remain eligible for government assistance. If the government finds duplication of efforts local agencies and residents can be fined and residents may become ineligible for all future types of governmental assistance.
We utilize Early Response trained volunteers only in the early stages of disaster response. Disasters are traumatizing for everyone involved. We provide basic Early Response Team (ERT) training for volunteers we utilize in a disaster area in the early days and weeks following the event. It is important that early volunteers understand the tenuous nature of disaster response and we address the emotional and physical demands of early disaster response through our Early Response Team (ERT) training. United Methodist Disaster Response is not first response and we stay out of a disaster area until the first responders have deemed the area safe for trained ERT's. Examples of first responders are medical professionals, search and rescue, police and fire personnel.
Missouri United Methodist Disaster Response identifies local coordinators through which volunteers operate. These local coordinators are individuals who are knowledgeable of local city processes and receive jobs for volunteers through the designated volunteer coordination agency.
Long Term Recovery
We are dedicated to long term recovery. United Methodists are one of few organizations that strive to maintain a presence in disaster until all of the needs related to that disaster are met. Many organizations are able to respond in the early stages but few are able to respond long term. Our role in disaster response is a long term commitment to addressing unmet needs.