Each HDR Teams volunteer will receive training on how to think like a humanist when they are working alongside survivors. In this training, it is emphasized that volunteers understand that the experience belongs to the survivor, and that the volunteer can best understand the needs of the survivor by listening to them, taking them seriously, and being the extra hands they need to complete the list of tasks before them.
Evidence has shown that untrained volunteers cause complications for survivors and other workers. HDR Teams volunteers will have the preparation necessary to understand their role in the emergency management system.
At this time, volunteers will not receive their training until it is confirmed they will be a part of a deployment. This will ensure that each team member has conducted their trainings recently and are immediately prepared for being involved with the team. It will also allow for each team member to receive the most up to date revision of the training, as trainings will be consistently updated as FEMA and government rules and regulations change over time and the HDR Teams program continues to develop.
Upon acceptance to the team, volunteers will receive their training documents to review prior to deployment, and will receive orientation to go over their training on the first day of deployment.
Immediately after a disaster, HDR Staff will coordinate with the HDR Teams Staff to select which partner organization the volunteers will work with throughout the duration of the deployment.
While on the ground, the point of contact between the partner and HDR Teams will be the HDR Team Leader.
HDR Teams may be asked to participate in a variety of tasks depending on the nature of the event, the needs of the community, and the skills of volunteers. These tasks may include gutting homes, rebuilding homes, working at shelters, clearing debris, or helping in a food bank. The short and long term recovery environment is dynamic, so HDR Teams volunteers should be prepared for their tasks to change with little notice if more pressing concerns arise that need immediate attention.
Because there are no current national humanist recovery organizations, HDR Teams will be partnered with well-established, secular nonprofits working in the impacted area during deployments. These organizations typically work with businesses to send their employees.
HDR Teams does not have the funding, expertise, or resources to navigate a disaster-stricken community without assistance at this time. The organizations we will partner with have years of experience, significant funding, and established relationships with the broader disaster recovery community.
HDR Teams plans to develop our abilities to perform these functions over time.
At this time, HDR Teams volunteers must provide their own transportation. Team leaders may discuss carpooling from the team’s housing location to the work site.
HDR Teams volunteers will not have to pay for their accommodations, breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks at the worksite, work vests, and equipment at the work site.
Volunteers will need to pay for their travel to the housing location from their home and dinner each evening.
HDR Teams Staff reviews all applications upon submission and divides applicants by region. Volunteers are chosen based upon proximity and availability, although some with specialized skills may be asked to travel despite their proximity to a disaster. Although “proximity” will often rely on previously defined FEMA regions, it will remain a relative term, defined by the scope of the disaster, and need for additional volunteers.
It is critical that volunteers do not deploy before the volunteer coordinating systems are in place in the impacted area (e.g., accommodations and organizations to feed volunteers). Spontaneous volunteers that show up in impacted areas before these systems are in place are a major hindrance to first responders and other organizations working to meet the immediate needs of survivors. HDR Teams will not deploy until our partner organization gives us a confirmation of deployment, which can one to several weeks after a disaster has occurred. All HDR Teams volunteers must wait until they have confirmation that the volunteer system is prepared to receive them before deploying.
HDR Staff considers the following factors when determining if it is appropriate for to mobilize HDR Teams:
Location - Currently HDR Teams only deploys to disasters within the United States.
Size and scope - Media saturation can distort the scope of an event, either making the event seem bigger or smaller than it is. HDR Staff works to gain an accurate portrayal of the event by monitoring reports from residents, local government officials, and volunteer organizations already on the ground to determine HDR’s involvement.
Amount and type of unmet needs - Sometimes an event may require a big response but require minimal recovery. For example, winter storms typically have a long response period but often don’t require outside recovery assistance. HDR Teams will only become involved in an event when local governments and local voluntary organizations express the need for outside volunteers during the recovery period.
While donations and volunteers tend to dry up after the media has moved on to the next event, the greatest need for money and man hours, is during the recovery period after a disaster. Recovery phases can last for weeks, months, or even years after a disaster event. Because of this, HDR Teams will focus its efforts where recovering communities need it most; which evidence supports is during the recovery phase.
Disaster response is coordinated by a strict system, under a plethora of federal, state, and local laws; even the Red Cross is a federally chartered organization with a mandate from the federal government to respond. HDR does not currently have a role in the national response system. If an opportunity presents itself where HDR can contribute to address the unmet needs of survivors during response, HDR will consider this opportunity.
Response consists of actions taken when a hazard is imminent, occurring, or just occurred in an effort to save lives, property, and the environment. Actions include evacuating, taking shelter, securing food and water, search and rescue, addressing medical needs, and emergency debris removal to clear paths for aid. The length of time a community is considered to be in response varies greatly depending on the disaster. For example, the response period for a tornado typically lasts about three days whereas the response phase for a drought could last for many years.
Recovery consists of actions taken after the life-saving actions of the response phase have been completed. Restoration, rebuilding, and reshaping actions take place at this time. The recovery phase for very large disasters can stretch on for many years.
HDR Teams is a recovery organization and will only be involved in the recovery phase after a disaster.
Please visit https://foundationbeyondbelief.org/join-hdrteams to fill out your application.