Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention
I remember driving through our community one sunny afternoon and drove past the local fire station. I noticed that the overhead doors were open, and I was assuming at first that it was because it was such a beautiful day.
But then something else caught my eye. The fire trucks were just inside and the doors of all the firetrucks were open. Hanging from each door was the fireman’s coat and on the floor below each door was his turnout gear. As I saw that picture, I immediately thought to myself, “They are ready to respond within 30 seconds the moment the alarm sounds. They were ready at a moment’s notice.”
With my heart and passion for the disaster relief ministry, it got me to thinking. So, I asked myself the question, “Are we ready to respond at a moment’s notice when disaster strikes?” Obviously, as volunteers there is no way we can respond as quickly as a fire department. But are we ready? Are you ready?
We have learned that there are four basic phases of a disaster response.
The first is READINESS. Are you ready when disaster strikes? Being ready starts now, not after a disaster happens. We need to be alert, available and able. Being ready means being trained, equipped and being ready when the need comes. It involves already knowing and have rehearsed the steps when the call comes.
The second phase is RESPONSE. Response involves mobilizing to meet urgent needs. Response involves search and rescue, immediate relief, feeding, sheltering, and meeting emergent needs.
The third phase is RECOVERY. The recovery phase can last a few days to several months. Recovery includes chainsaw, flood, fire, roofing and tarping, and debris clean-up. This is the phase where the work gets done and requires many volunteers, regardless of skill level.
The final phase is REBUILD. This phase is usually long term and requires assistance from both skilled labor and those willing to serve and learn. This often is the reconstruction phase after homes have been affected by disasters. One major advantage during this phase is the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the survivors.
We all know disasters happen and they can even happen to any of us. Are you ready? Have you, or are you planning to take the steps to be ready to respond when there is a need?
Hurting people need helping hands. And helping hands come from caring hearts.
Are you ready?