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When disasters arise, the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT) may be called up to respond. Since 1994, the ERT has assisted communities in over 30 states and more than 65 of Missouri’s 105 counties in meeting disaster related needs. These missions have included responses to large incidents such as the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building and the September 11 terrorist attacks as well as assisting small rural communities with limited resources. Over the years, the ERT has responded to wildfires throughout the West, Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes states; flooding and tornados throughout the Heartland; numerous hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States; and ice storms in the Northeast, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
The ERT is highly skilled, thoroughly trained, equipped and organized to quickly deploy to impacted communities. The team supports emergency managers and relief agencies in addressing critical unmet needs. In this capacity, the ERT partners with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies, faith-based organizations, United Way, and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) agencies.
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, some ERT Members focus on critical life safety needs. The Team assists with search and rescue, initial damage assessment, debris clearance, distribution of life sustaining supplies and outreach to impacted families. At the same time, other Members collaborate with community leaders to effectively manage volunteers, coordinate donations and help develop a structure to address immediate relief and long-term recovery needs. The ERT has specific responsibilities for several of these activities within the Missouri State Emergency Response Plan.
Recent Disaster Responses Include:
- Sevier County Wildfires (DR-4293) – Sevier County, TN
- Louisiana Flooding (DR-4277) – Baton Rouge, LA
- Kansas Wildfires – Medicine Lodge, KS
- Missouri Winter Flooding (DR-4250) – Statewide, MO
- South Carolina Flooding (DR-4241) – Columbia, SC
- Independence High Winds – Independence, MO
- Clarksville Flooding – Clarksville, MO
- Coal City Tornado – Coal City, IL
- Texas Flooding – Bastrop, TX
- Fairdale, IL Tornado – Fairdale, IL
- Detroit Flooding (DR-4195) – Metro Detroit, MI
Incalculable healing begins when a group such as [AmeriCorps St. Louis] follows in the ebb of retreating flood water – bringing concern, support, willingness to work, and the living proof that the outside world has taken notice of the struggles of a stricken community. The youthful energy and vitality of the [AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team] beacons to inner strength and comitment in those they are serving, fostering hope and encouraging action.
– Linda Reed Brown – Missouri COAD Disaster Consultant
I have enjoyed working along side AmeriCorps these past 3 weeks. What an awesome group of hard workers, leaders and encouragers! They have done an excellent job of organizing and leading the volunteers that come to help Joplin – from all over the world – everyday. You get a huge thumbs up from me!
– Sara Staib Burr – Joplin Disaster Relief Volunteer