JEFFERSON CITY – Thirty-four Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) leaders and volunteers discussed training methods and a new direction for the ministry at a round-table discussion June 29-30 here. It was also time for new Disaster Relief Director Dwain Carter to introduce himself.
Carter said things that are going to change within DR’s structure.
“In a disaster, it’s almost all reactive,” he said. “We want to become more proactive. We’re going to start a sandbagging unit for before floods, and instead of doing a mud-out of a house, we’re going to try moving things out before the mud gets there.”
Ideally, Carter said there would be four sandbagging units around the state working in conjunction with the Red Cross, National Guard, and Army Corps of Engineers. A unit would consist of a trailer, 5,000 sandbags, up to 10 shovels, etc. A group of DR volunteers are currently getting sandbagging experience in post-fire floods in Colorado.
A pre-flood property removal unit would be the easiest to outfit, needing only a “strong back and a gentle heart,” along with a flat open trailer or an enclosed trailer, a few dollies, straps and pads.
Plans are also in the works for three “Blue Tarp” recovery units by January 2013 to quickly re-cover houses that have roof damage. These trailers would be stocked with 500 linear feet of 1×2’s and 1×4’s, nails, several types of rope, safety harnesses and 100 blue tarps.
Carter said leaders are considering putting together a light search and rescue unit.
Finally, there is a big shift in DR leadership structure: Instead of a single “white hat” or DR leader in the state, there will be multiple white hats around Missouri that can lead when Carter is unavailable.
“I’m the main person, but I can’t be everywhere all the time,” he said. “Adding White Hats to our state leadership gives us the ability to be in all places, have a white hat with a call out to other states, relieve some stress from the blue hats (individual unit leaders) during a call out and help the state DR leader in high stress times.”
Carter said Missouri Baptist DR is matching its paperwork and processes to other state convention DR programs, so that cooperation among Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma is easier and more cohesive. He said it may mean more call-outs for Missouri units, but it also means more help if a disaster strikes at home.
Leaders also discussed having a presence at the 2013 Missouri State Fair to help generate awareness about the ministry.