Natural Disaster Response series:
'Funding a "Whole Community" Response'
Our previous post, 'When we are all First Responders,' informs us here. Wherein the evacuation search, rescue and critical response stages of natural disaster relief operations are also the focus.
The weakness caused by evolving devastation cries out for emergency services to have contingencies in place. Such as an up-to-date go-to list of active volunteers to assist first responders where needed.
No truer than when emergency operations break down. When first-response evacuation, search, rescue, and critical response resources are overcome by the event they are tackling. Before government, institutional, and other relief can arrive from away.
With the increase and severity of natural disaster events worldwide, it is easy to conclude a select citizen volunteer corps would be indispensable. A select group of volunteers made up of civic-minded citizens, able and willing to avail themselves of community-level emergency services to call on them.
Properly managing such a list of 'active volunteers' is to maximize effectiveness. The term active denotes a specific category of recruited active volunteers. Inactive volunteers would be no longer on the active list.
This is a select group of citizens for disaster response administrators to encourage and to manage. Community-minded citizens, recruited specifically, to help our professional emergency services personnel out when they become overwhelmed . . . in their time of need.
Profile of an Active Community Volunteer
For emergency disaster response, putting the call out for volunteers had best be with a purpose. With some forethought. The citizens recruited to the active list are best to have the skills (nurses, doctors, engineers, drivers, etc.), equipment, and labour to help. Not always a predictable situation, for sure.
Should the day-to-day emergency operations structure become overwhelmed is when they, depending on their skill set, would be activated. Potential scenarios could be because of the excessive volume of calls and or when Mother Nature herself devastates operational structures and readiness. However, that is. Perhaps even damaging operational superstructures, like the Fire Hall itself.
Again, the idea is for active citizen volunteer recruitments to be on standby to lend their expertise in support, as directed, early on. During the first strike, search, rescue, and critical response operations . . . or until relieved.
Assembled to assist with providing life-sustaining aid where they are able. For example, to deliver emergency supplies, healthcare, medicines, transportation, repatriating operations, and so forth. Before 'big government' and other aid arrive days later.
With lessons learned from hurricane Katrina. This is what the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls a "whole community" response. A community-based solution, welcomed by integrated emergency services throughout the world.
We use the term 'big government' to define the federal, state/provincial integrated emergency oversight agencies. To distinguish their response from that of the community and regional governments.
In this post, we are talking about having alternative sources for funding volunteer costs. Not payroll, a volunteer's out-of-pocket costs. When simply, a community's annual budget can not handle it.
Considered speculative or not, these sorts of potential costs often are an afterthought and or a political issue, for elected governments in their budgeting deliberations. Particularly with known unknowns like climate.
The increase and severity of natural disasters are hard to fathom for some. That they are next to impossible to forecast does not help.
It is not out of the realm to think a catastrophic disaster is not likely to wreak havoc upon them personally. Along with like-minded politicians governing from the belief that they, too, will believe it when they see it. Often resulting in competing views of climate-induced natural disasters manifesting into political theatre. Which can certainly reflect on the budget.
I digress. For us believers, we come back to this being about simply covering the basic costs of the respective volunteers should they deploy. Material personal costs like gas, food, supplies, and so forth may not be absolute, but the place to start.
As noted in a previous post, not having the means to pay these upfront costs is a potential barrier for able volunteers raising their hands to help. On principle, if nothing more.
To cover the bases, we must also acknowledge the significant efforts of 'big government' relief worldwide. Where funding disaster relief and recovery are integral to their broader mandate. Indeed! Although in terms of first-response, they may come a bit late.
There are other caveats to consider as well. Such as there are often built-in formal application processes for follow along payments to manoeuvre. Application by application, because that is how the government mostly works.
So when then is the question? Not nearly soon enough is a likely answer. As it can often be weeks—to months for relief money to flow from the government. To materialize . . . to get to those out-of-pocket. None of which stimulates the volunteer recruitment process.
When the bureaucratic process is operating as intended, it requires approvals by committees, boards, levels of management, and so forth. Again, well past the search, rescue and critical recovery phase of disaster response operations.
Finally. Many folks guard their personal cash reserves, especially when limited. For a variety of reasons, but often because family needs come first. Not having to wait on government bureaucracy with scarcity all around would be welcome. Anything less could signal many volunteers to take a pass.
An Alternate Funding Source
Ascent Provisions fundraising grant funds and or select safety equipment to affected communities, as described, worldwide. Providing there are available campaign funds then, that is. As global demand dictates.
Operationally, we call upon community emergency services to manage who gets what and when in terms of our available donor-funded resources. Targeting fire, police, search & rescue, ems, and so forth. Whichever local agency, agencies, or response teams fit the profile.
Contributing at arm's length to a community's overall emergency disaster planning is the goal. Having donor funds in the kitty must come first.
Ascent's Global Fund Initiatives is a good idea whose time has come. There is no commitment from either party, unless or until funds disperse. There are no charges for our services unless specifically agreed to.
To learn more or get on our contacts list, please follow the links below. Small-dollar donations are welcome.
Emergency services personnel help people every day in hamlets and cities across the globe. It is what they do! More than a job, it is their vocation.
Supporting these dedicated women and men is central to this initiative. Particularly in their time of need. One disastrous cataclysmic event to the next.
We can all use your help! This is a word-of-mouth proposition. Please like, share, and backlink. It will mean the world to us.
You will find us at ascentprovisions.org to learn about our solutions, this outreach, and us.
Our next blog, 'Who You Gonna Call—Community Volunteer Responders'.
- #Rapid Onset Natural Disasters
- #Disaster Aid In Action
- #Whole Community Response
- #Global Relief Funds
- #Mother Nature's Hat Trick