Disaster Response and UMVIM (ERTs)


UMVIM has a very special role in Disaster Response Ministry.

Early Response Teams (ERT) are specially trained UMVIM teams who serve in the immediate aftermath of disaster, generally doing cleanup tasks, but with the critical mission of providing a caring Christian presence to those directly impacted by a disaster.

ERT members must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Attend an 8-hour training class
  • Be Safe Sanctuaries certified
  • Pass a national background check
  • Update training and background checks every 3 years

ERT Training is offered periodically by this and our neighboring conferences.  Check the ‘UMVIM Training’ page for upcoming sessions.

Long Term Recovery Teams (commonly known as 'rebuild' teams) are UMVIM teams that go into a disaster area after cleanup has been completed and rebuilding and repair are underway.  These teams operate as regular UMVIM teams with no special training, other than that required for the tasks at hand; each site will be different and each site's needs will change over time.

Check the "Current Disaster Response Opportunities" page for current needs.


Disaster Ministry Training

Fire, flood, tornado, or earthquake can change lives in an instant, and each present real threats within our Conference. Get the skills and information you need to develop and be part of response teams for emergencies near or far.  Being ready to offer a trained and caring Christian response is critical, but it takes dedicated training to be effective.

  • ERT Basic and Advanced

  • UMVIM Team Leader Training

Are you prepared to be a member of teams that respond to crisis and disaster? You can make a difference. Emergency Response Teams (ERT) get training on how to respond when natural disasters strike and how to be an effective caring Christian presence with the survivors.


ERT Basic Training - CANCELLED!

  • Monday and Wednesday, May 16 and 18
  • Saturday, May 21

This training will prepare you on ways to clean out a flooded home, haul debris, sift ashes and work alongside survivors while staying safe. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) certified trainers teach the class and include real-world examples, hands-on activities, plus an opportunity to meet people with a passion for serving.

The three-part training combines two two-hour Zoom-based sessions and one four-hour in-person class. Dates are Monday and Wednesday, May 16 and 18, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. PT, for the Zoom training. The in-person session is Saturday, May 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Des Moines United Methodist Church in Des Moines, WA. This training is open to participants in the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences; a separate training is being planned for interested persons in Alaska.

All three days are required to complete the training. Anyone 18 years or older is welcome to attend. Full COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with CDC guidelines are mandatory. The registration fee is $25. Class size is limited to 15 people so register ASAP at: https://gnw-reg.brtapp.com/ERTBasicMay2022.  

Registration deadline is Friday, May 6, 
unless the class fills prior. There are pre-class requirements to complete no later than Friday, May 13. Questions? Contact Kathy Bryson, PNW Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at brysonpnw@gmail.com, (509) 539-2978.

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