Serving the world: Emergency Services Training
From February 22–27, the USA Eastern Territory hosted a five–day intensive International Emergency Services (IES) training workshop held at the Crestview Conference Center in West Nyack, New York, for 17 participants, one of whom came from the Southern Territory.
The Eastern Territory and the Salvation Army’s International Headquarters (IHQ) are recruiting a team that can be deployed under IES supervision to serve as international emergency workers. These workers would assist with the Army’s response to emergencies and recovery projects worldwide.
When needed, these delegates will be deployed individually with experienced IES emergency staff to conduct their second phase of the training—fieldwork, in real time, during an actual emergency. Excellent physical condition, project management experience, availability during the next two years, and a personal commitment to international ministry are required.
The team would reconvene annually, and be available for deployments here in the United States.
During the workshops, delegates received an overview of IES, global hazards and disasters, and a discussion on a U.S. domestic response vs. an international response.
Delegates also received an introduction to The Sphere Project, a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim—to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors, and affected populations. Delegates received and overview of the Project’s Human Rights & Humanitarian Charter, its Minimum & Core Standards, and its Code of Conduct.
In addition, delegates were schooled on the systems currently in place that are designed to optimize their effectiveness in the event of an emergency. Topics included the International Emergency Management Cycle, accountability and transparency needs assessment, coordination, safety and security, protection of beneficiaries, global logistics, disaster risk reduction, as well as case studies.
Facilitating the workshops were Major Alison Thompson, IES coordinator; Damaris Frick, IES emergency field operations officer; Craig Arnold, UPS Europe Enterprise Accounts vice president; and John Berglund, emergency services director, Greater New York Division.
Berglund, who has been deployed on several recovery projects including in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, said that IES is hoping to recruit a younger crop of volunteers. “From the very beginning, the goal was to identify new people who are attracted to the ministry. Especially a younger generation, because a lot of us have been doing this for quite some time.”
Berglund says that globally, few people are trained and are able to deploy for 6–8 weeks. From the entire Army world, only about 24 team leaders have such experience. Nonetheless, working in concert with the Salvation Army World Services Organization (SAWSO), IES recovery projects are identified, financed, and implemented.
“The next phase is to get our team members into the field, responding to a real emergency,” said Berglund. As an example, he cited the recent devastation to the Pacific island of Vanuatu caused by Cyclone Pam. Two workshop participants have been deployed—Alastair Bate, THQ risk management secretary, and Craig Finikin from Greater New York Divisional Headquarters. Wrote Bate, “The Army’s ministry in such circumstances is critical. [We must have] a compassionate heart for those people who might lose hope.”
by Warren L. Maye