Early Response Team webpage here.
Early Response Team trainings will be held Aug. 2 at Grace UMC in Ruston and Aug. 16 at Northwood UMC in Lafayette.
All classes will be led by UMCOR-certified trainer, Ken Musick, a member of St. Andrew’s UMC in Baton Rouge. Trainings will begin at 8 a.m. and end at or before 5 p.m.
Not a first response group of emergency workers--nor a recovery rebuild or repair team--an Early Response Team fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church. ERTs serve across the Louisiana Conference and beyond, with team members responding to call-ups as they are able.
Various tasks are assigned to an ERT by those in the community who coordinate the response, but no task is more important that the purpose of ERTs, which is to provide a Christian presence. Offering that presence may be the most important thing a team can do. The team also takes further steps to prevent damage to a family’s personal property through tarping, debris removal and cleaning out flooded homes.
The team may be asked to manage donated materials or other tasks deemed necessary by the community. Some teams form to observe the needs of survivors and report these to local operations. Each team is to be a part of the caring ministry of "listeners" who help survivors begin to heal. Early Response Team members respond much like a Volunteer Fire Department -- putting personal plans on hold when the call to respond comes.