Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Deploying to a Disaster Zone

No, not me (my days of wanting to hang out in a place that is going to Hell in a handbasket are long over) but in overall generalities, here is some information about deploying to help out in a disaster zone.

  • People seem to have a natural inclination to go and help out as soon as they become aware that a disaster has happened.  Maybe it is human nature (?) but there are many things to consider when taking yourself from the safety of your home to a disaster area.
  • Self-deploying (meaning seeing a need for help and just going off on your own to help in the disaster area) is generally frowned upon since many self-deployed responders become more of a hindrance than a help.  This page has more information on managing spontaneous volunteers.
  • On the other hand, the Cajun Navy has won accolades for responding much quicker and much more effectively than the professionals.
  • Volunteering with officially recognized disaster relief agencies has a lot of benefits (everything from infrastructure support like transit/food/water/shelter assistance as well as credentialing, protective services, scene permissions, extrication services, and a framework for ICS).  In other words, you will have a lot of backing and support if you respond via an officially recognized response agency.
  • If you self-deploy you will need to ensure that you don't become a casualty of the disaster.  Can you provide your own water, food, shelter, and fuel?  These are often in short supply or no supply after a disaster so what will you do when you get to a disaster area and need these vital supplies?  How will you access a disaster area if the access roads are blocked off by law enforcement in an effort to keep civilians safe?
  • If you are a credentialed responder (doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc) or someone else who needs a license to practice the skills they hope to utilize in a disaster area, it generally behooves you to belong to a disaster response organization.  This is a big topic in the healthcare field as things such as identification, indemnification, scope of practice, and various other things that are required for medical care can be taken care of ahead of time by the organization you deploy with.  For more information on this topic check here and here.
  • Many times good intentions can backfire.  People often want to donate to a disaster area by sending food, clothing and other supplies.  It makes sense, however the people needed to transport, sort, and distribute such items are often not in place so these things can sit in warehouses indefinitely.  More information on how to donate (usually cash as this is more effective) in response to a disaster can be found here and here.
  • Developing the skills that can be most useful during a disaster should be started long before a disaster strikes.  Excellent articles on this topic can be found here, here, and here.
  • More information on helping during a disaster can be found here, here, and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment