Disaster Response

2020 – Unprecedented Times

Many of you receive updates from the Conference regarding Disaster Response. Those updates advise restricting our response to local area challenges. This guidance is provided due to the hazards of COVID-19. In accordance with those recommendations, and the lack of regional storms, we have limited our activity to local service projects; however, current circumstances may call for us to re-evaluate.

Currently, there are four named storms in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Hurricane Sally is forecast to make landfall tomorrow (Wednesday, September 17), bringing historic rainfall to Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Of course, historic rainfall means flooding, and we know what flooding causes! Due to this, we anticipate a great need in our region for ERT skills.

Because Coronavirus is still with us, measures must be implemented to ensure the safety of our team members during travel, while lodging, and at the worksite(s). Given those considerations, we know some of you cannot respond while others might be able. We are asking each of you to discuss this with family members and more importantly to pray for guidance regarding your availability. Please e-mail Missions to let them know if you might be willing and able to deploy. Based on the response, we will develop plans for our course(s) of action.



4 days (2 travel days – 2 work days)

Team Qualifications / Recommendations

The Team Leader must be ERT badged. Conferences prefer all team members to be badged. Previous disaster experience can be substituted for badging.

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 should be ERT Certified. If you are not certified and would like to be, please check back here for upcoming certification classes.

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

If you have further questions, contact Clyde Almy.

What Is a Disaster?

A disaster is an event that 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.
  • 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.