Just like the Advent season, this time of year is a time for preparation. Are you willing to be trained to respond with those who have survived a disaster?
Who Should Take This Training: Those who have a passion for coming alongside survivors of a disaster and giving them hope, letting them know the church cares and helping them begin their recovery. Being ERT trained and background checked with badges that have photos (that are updated every 3 years) will prepare you to respond when disaster strikes – in your own community or elsewhere, although you don’t need a badge to respond in your own backyard.
Course Description: Early Response Team (ERT) training includes an in depth look at the basics of disaster response, including what typically happens in the aftermath of a disaster, survivors reactions, how we respond as ERTs, what work we do and don’t do, how teams are developed and equipped, etc. Participants will also review important aspects of a Ministry of Care after a disaster, organizational structure for the relief stage, team safety, ERT protocols and safe sanctuaries.
Early Response Teams provide a caring, Christian presence and bring hope through their actions in the aftermath of a disaster. These teams are neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery rebuild or repair team; rather they fill a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church and remove debris, tarp roofs to prevent further damage, muck out basements, remove wet wallboard, clean up mold, etc.
Registration fee is $30 for lunch, course materials, and an ERT T-shirt.
After taking the training, you will also complete a background check authorization online for UMCOR, so please bring a laptop or smartphone.
Register and pay online by using the link above or mail a check made out to "NEAC" and send it to New England Conference, 411 Merrimack St, Suite 200, Methuen, MA 01844, Attention: Barbara Burnside.
Registration deadline is Feb 15.
UMCOR ERT Trainers:
Bruce Arbour is the Connecticut/Western Massachusetts District ERT coordinator. He facilitates the district collection station for the UMCOR disaster response kits and supplies. In addition to his work with the ERT teams, he is the Deputy Chief Chaplain for the Massachusetts Corps of Fire Chaplains (MCFC), supervising the Western MA district. Rev. Arbour also serves as the chaplain for the Amherst and Northampton Fire Departments providing support to victims. He has responded through MCFC to Ground Zero to support FDNY in the rescue efforts, the Boston Marathon Bombing follow up care for Boston Fire, and was the coordinating dispatch chaplain for the tornado in Western MA.
Rev. Arbour serves two churches in the Western MA. With over 30 years of experience in pastoral care and chaplaincy, he brings not only the skills of each, but a deep passion to serve those in their hour of need. He is currently on staff at the First Interfaith Center on the campus of Westfield State University where is he developing a student program for mission.
Barbara Burnside, the part-time Disaster Response & Missions Coordinator for the six-state region that is the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church, as well as the former part-time Sandy Recovery Volunteer Coordinator for the New York Annual Conference, is also an UMCOR ERT trainer. She deployed to TX and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. She also has served on mission teams during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy recovery, in VT for Hurricane Irene recovery and on Salt Cay in the Turks & Caicos repairing a 150-year-old church ravaged by several hurricanes. She also teaches the UM Volunteers in Mission team leader and Connecting Neighbors trainings, as well as having completed UMCOR’s Disaster Spiritual and Emotional Care leader training. For 18 years, Barbara volunteered as an orientation and team leader with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) through Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield, CT, and was a member of its leadership council. She currently serves on several state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) in New England and has training in Incident Coordination Systems through Homeland Security.