Hurricane Sandy has hit, the images are compelling, and many believers sense a call to respond and help!
As a former emergency services coordinator and disaster responder at local, state, federal, and international levels, Pastor Michael provides this warning:
“Self-dispatching” can put you and local responders in great danger, in addition to negatively impacting local emergency operations, and making more work for them vs. providing the help you intended!
If you feel called to respond on-scene, remember there are two main types of response: (1) Relief (immediate, now); and (2) Recovery (the long term process of recovering from the disaster…this can take years, even decades in some cases).
Which is best suited for your skills and abilities? The short term relief, or long term recovery?
Rather than self-responding and being a burden to the local emergency relief operations, please research wisely, and consider volunteering with known relief and recovery ministries and organizations, that have a proven track record for working within the Incident Command System, and helping vs. competing with local responders!
If you are part of a denomination, please check with your own affiliations first!
Here are a few suggestions for reputable and effective disaster response organizations (in no order of priority!)
Christian Reformed Church: World Renew
United Methodist Committee on Relief
American Red Cross
Episcopal Relief and Development
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief