Disaster Response

Hurricane Updates

A Message from Clyde Almy, MB Disaster Response Coordinator, as Hurricane Michael makes landfall:

I know many Mt. Bethel members have family in this area as well as beach homes. I am sure the church will get questions about the response to this disaster. As we communicate with the UMCOR at the conference level, this is the Disaster Response process we follow. The first phase is left to the professionals (shiny badges). They will perform the search and rescue heroics so often seen in the media. This is not the time for the untrained to descend upon the area.

The next phase is when we will need “all hands on deck.” Once conditions are deemed safe for Emergency Response Teams and a Command presence is established, the Florida Conference will extend an invitation for adjoining conferences to send teams. We should not expect an invitation for two to three weeks.

We are just beginning our deployments to the Carolinas from the damage of Hurricane Florence. We have three trips scheduled. After that, our efforts could be redirected to South Georgia and Florida (only time will tell).


Mt. Bethel’s ERTs are being assigned to the Wilmington, NC area. Wilmington was hit hard! I am sure you have seen news reports showing the horrendous devastation in this area. Under normal driving conditions, this drive takes approximately 6 hours 15 minutes. We are sure our commute will take a little longer.


4 days (2 travel days – 2 work days)

Team Qualifications / Recommendations

The Team Leader must be ERT badged. The North Carolina Annual Conference prefers all team members be badged. Previous disaster experience can be substituted for badging.


Go online to volunteer by registering for one of the three trips currently planned. Exact dates for each trip are listed on the Signup.com webpage. Click Here to access these events on Signup.com.

Interested In Being ERT Badged?

Clyde Almy, MB Disaster Response Ministry Lead and Certified ERT Trainer, is in touch with UMCOR and UMVIM to coordinate and dispatch teams. To be a part of these teams, members must be ERT Certified. If you are not certified and would like to be, there will be an ERT Training on October 20 at the church from 8:30-4:30. The cost is $20 for certification. If interested, sign up here.

If you wish to donate funds, you can write a check to Mt. Bethel for Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief or donate through the North Georgia Conference.

If you have further questions, contact Heather Wood, [email protected].

A disaster is an event which results in overwhelming physical, economic and/or emotional damage to a community. It results in significant harm to people and property. It disrupts the normal pattern of living. It overwhelms a community’s ability to respond. It affects individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, and entire regions.

Disaster Phases

  • Readiness:
    Preparation phase, ongoing as ERTs must be in a constant state of readiness to deploy
  • Rescue:
    Emergency phase managed by first responders quickly followed by Damage Assessment Response Teams (DART) that are specially trained to observe, identify, and assess physical damage then determine the magnitude of response required
  • Relief:
    Emergency Response Teams (ERT) are deployed upon invitation from the affected area for debris removal, site stabilization, and survivor support
  • Recovery:
    Rebuild phase – ERTs do not deploy for this phase. However, members may serve during this phase under a different designation.

Rule of Tens

The immediate devastation of a disaster is swift, but the Relief and Recovery phases are long and hard. How long?

  • Rescue = Emergency X (example: 7 days)
  • Relief = X times 10 (example: 7 days times 10 = 70 days)
  • Recovery = Relief times 10 (example: 70 days X 10 = 700 days – almost 2 years)

It is easy to understand why Mt. Bethel needs to grow our Disaster Response resources.

How can you help?

  • Volunteer:
    • Response requires resources! Few are available at a moment’s notice, so many are needed to be able to answer the call. Click here to register with the church as a Disaster Response Volunteer. This will let us know you want to serve when you are available.
  • Training / Certification:
    • We want to provide a caring ministry that stabilizes situations and keeps ERTs from becoming part of the problem. The best way to accomplish our mission is to be familiar with proper techniques and practices. Certified UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) trainers equip students with the knowledge they need for a successful deployment.
    • In disaster events, survivor security is paramount. ERT badges assure first responders (fire, police, military) the holder is qualified to enter the disaster zone. A photo ID badge is issued by UMCOR upon successful completion of training and passing a criminal background check.
    • Click here to view the upcoming ERT Training/Certification sessions and register.
  • Donate:
    • Monetary Donations:
      Financial resources are required to purchase fuel, rent special equipment, buy food, and so many other necessary supplies. Designate “Disaster Response” for any contributions.