Early Response Training in Louisiana

December 30, 2016
Louisiana Early Response teams are “on the ground” across South Louisiana bringing personnel, equipment and supplies to areas affected by recent catastrophic flooding.

“Trained volunteers are needed immediately for early response efforts,” said Rev. Bob Deich, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Ruston and coordinator of Early Response Teams for the Louisiana Conference. “Tasks include, but are not limited to, helping sort through salvaging belongings, removing debris, removing dry wall and insulation and pulling up flooring. Most importantly, team members are needed to just be there, to love and listen to those who have lost so much.”
Deich emphasized that if volunteers cannot do physical work, there are jobs  of “all kinds.” “We are doing canvassing and assessment work, and there will be follow-up work by phone.”
The next Early Response Team training opportunities will be: To register for either of these events, please click here.

Not only is the number of homes a factor in the great need for trained volunteers, many of the current Louisiana Conference ERT members have suffered flooding in their own homes. “Probably the largest number of UMCOR trained ERTs are members of First UMC in Denham Springs. All but one of these dedicated volunteers were flooded out. In addition, the only UMCOR certified ERT trainer, Ken Musick, is a member of St. Andrew’s UMC in Baton Rouge. The neighborhood and area surrounding the church was also hard hit,” said Deich.
Deich says, “Working with disaster response is like serving on a mission trip—a mission trip with no planning, that just drops in your lap. When ERTs arrive to help someone in crisis, we meet as strangers and leave as friends. The help we provide is the first step in rebuilding and restoring lives."
The efforts of Early Response Teams are being coordinated with all Conference disaster response efforts for optimization of the total recovery effort. “It is important that we hear from folks volunteering so that we know who is going where, so that the Conference can put groups where the need is greatest.”
For more on how the Louisiana Annual Conference is responding to the 2016 floods, please visit

For questions regarding the response, or for these particular ERT trainings, please contact Nancy Waller in the Disaster Response Team office:

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