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Early Response Team Updates

“The Mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster.”


This team is neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery rebuild or repair team; rather it fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church. While there are specific tasks assigned to early response teams, no task is more important than the people it serves.

It is important to understand that ER Teams are trained primarily to respond within their own community. Your team does not need an invitation to respond in your own community or in your own Methodist district. To travel to another district, conference, or jurisdiction, requires the invitation by the affected community. 

Below are invitations the Tennessee Conference has received requesting Early Response Teams.

IMPORTANT: Please contact the Nashville Episcopal Area Disaster Response Coordinator, Robert Craig at DisasterResponse@tnumc.org and let him know when you plan to deploy. 

January 2018 – Puerto Rico

UMCOR Shares Process for Volunteering for Puerto Rico http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/puerto-rico-volunteers

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for UMCOR’s efforts to support its partner, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, as they work to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.

UMCOR has received a formal invitation from Bishop Hector Ortiz of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico (MCPR) requesting volunteers to support reconstruction following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We know that many have been anxiously awaiting this invitation and we anticipate an outstanding response on the part of volunteers. UMCOR affirms Bishop Ortiz’s request that volunteers refrain from making formal travel plans or deploying without invitation.

At the invitation of UMCOR’s U.S. Disaster Response leadership, UMVIM-NCJ has cooperatively engaged in supporting UMCOR’s partnership with the MCPR to collaborate, establish, and implement a centralized volunteer coordination mechanism for Puerto Rico.

UMVIM-NCJ is pleased to announce that Jason Frazer has stepped into the new position as Puerto Rico Volunteer Coordinator – Mainland. Jason’s expertise in disaster response provides an easy stepping stone for team leaders seeking to serve to Puerto Rico. The uniqueness of the recovery efforts requires an additional awareness of the way God moves through us in the most challenging of places.

Letty Damian, who speaks both English and Spanish, will serve as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator. Jason and Letty will work collaboratively with UMCOR, UMVIM, and the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico’s (MCPR) Volunteer Coordinator.

If you are interested in scheduling a volunteer team to Puerto Rico to help with their reconstruction efforts, please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uw_ov_1_-kt0kfrrTvGt8xMUPdSpnCTU-nehC0Mxqtw/viewform?ts=5a4e2489&edit_requested=true .

UMCOR Early Response Teams will signal their availability through their conference disaster response coordinators. In Tennessee, email DisasterResponse@tnumc.org to reach out to Area-wide coordinator, Rober Craig. 

Thank you again for helping UMCOR and the people of The United Methodist Church support our neighbors in Puerto Rico.

October 5, 2017 – Florida

Florida is ready for volunteers. Trained ERTs will be placed in IRMA relief and those who are not trained will be serving with recovery for Hermine and Matthew. The link to volunteer is here: https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/hurricaneirmaregistration.

For more information regarding needs in Florida, you can go their disaster response page, found here:http://www.flumc.org/disasterrecoveryministry.

September 19, 2017 – South Georgia

Although Hurricane Irma was a tropical storm when it hit Georgia, it left its worst impact in Coastal Georgia.  South Georgia Conference is looking for current ERT and trained chainsaw teams to help in Chatham and other coastal counties.

Lodging can be arranged in local churches; however, teams may need to cook their own meals or use local restaurants.

Interested teams can contact me.

Luis O. Morales, MPS-EM, BSN; South Georgia UMC; Conference Disaster Response Coordinator; Email: morhilll@gmail.com; (478) 216-7729

August 29, 2017 – Rio Texas

The Rio Texas Conference is asking for ERT’s. Only currently certified ERT members are being accepted.

Teams will base out of Corpus Christi and should register at https://riotexas.org/ert-volunteer-team-registration.

ERT trained individuals/small groups not part of a team should register at https://riotexas.org/ert-individual-and-small-group-signup.

Current needs include debris removal of down trees, and roof tarping. Many homes have water damage from damaged windows and roofs.

Please send this invite to all of your currently certified ERT trained persons!


September 8, 2017 – Louisiana

The Louisiana Conference is now scheduling trained and badged ERT’s for Hurricane Harvey response. Please direct your ERT’s to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UMCVolunteerRegistration to register.


September 8, 2017 – Texas

To register a team to serve in the Texas Conference Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts, please fill in information on the form at


Please note that most of the work at this time includes mucking out and gutting of homes. This work is dirty and conditions may be hazardous, so please bring appropriate protective gear for all team members including respirators, Tyvek suits, gloves, eye protection, etc.

Members must be over the age of 18 and have proof of Safe Sanctuary Certification from your local church (contact your local church office for more information).


Early Response Team Training


ERT Basic Course | TBA

ERT Recertification | TBA


To express your interest in being trained and to be notified of dates for upcoming training, please send a message to: DisasterResponse@tnumc.org