Early Response Team Training (ERT) - Topeka, KS 10/15/2023
Sunday, October 15, 2023 at 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM Central Standard Time

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7433 SW 29th Street
Topeka, KS 66614

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Rev. Hollie Tapley

If you are willing to be involved in the early days following a disaster, come to this training!


Not a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery rebuild or repair team: the purpose of ERTs is to fill the specific need in the early days after a disaster of being a Christian presence of the church. ERTs respond only after they have been requested by the affected community. Come learn where United Methodists are involved, what is a disaster, how do we prepare for a disaster, what we can do when a disaster strikes, how the disaster response plan is activated, and how to be a caring presence in communities facing disaster recover. You will also how we avoid harming the recovery process for individuals.

You will also learn about the roles Early Response Teams play in the early days after a disaster:

  • Provide a Christian presence, be a part of the caring ministry of “listeners”
  • Take steps to prevent further damage to a family’s personal property: tarps, flood clean-out, debris removal
  • Help manage donated materials, gather information, or do other things needed in the community
  • Observe survivors' needs and report those to the local disaster operations

Various tasks are assigned to an ERT by those selected by the community to command the response, but no task is more important than being a part of the ministry of listeners who help survivors begin to heal. Team members must respect that some work on damaged homes may, in fact, jeopardize the survivor’s eligibility for greater assistance. Teams and team members must pledge to be part of the solution and not become the problem, to join in the response rather than initiate their own desires.

Included in the ERT training is an UMCOR Verified Volunteers background check. Everyone attending a training is required to complete this training. Great Plains Annual Conference policy is that for all overnight trips, Safe Gatherings is required, so ERTs are required to obtain both Verified Volunteers and Safe Gatherings in order to be able to respond in a time of disaster. ERT’s must be able to respond with little advance notice, putting personal plans on hold when the call to respond comes your way.

Registration fee covers course materials, snacks, lunch and instructor travel costs. Everyone attending must bring a laptop or smartphone to the training.