If you have been following our updates, we were last right in the middle of our 2011 training course. It was an incredible couple of weeks of growing in our skills, growing in relationships with one another, and gaining more of God’s heart for disaster response.
Here is a brief re-cap of the training course; we had six first-time participants, seven PP1’s, three PP2’s, and three full members. It was a perfect balance of skill level and life experience to offer everyone an amazing learning environment. We also had six nations represented at the course: South Africa, Ukraine, Switzerland, England, Canada, and the United States.
We began every morning in worship or team time, building up the character of the team. As you can imagine, responding to disasters creates the need for a very unique team dynamic. It requires an incredible amount of trust in one another, to be quick to forgive, quick to serve in whatever capacity needed, and flexibility in the face of dynamic disaster circumstances. During every training course it is a top priority to pass on that unique team DNA to the participants.
Later, we would move into classroom lectures where we focused on disaster preparedness, Christian response to disaster, radio communications, remote medicine, search and rescue, fire suppression, disaster psychology, disaster childcare, field awareness, and team care. We were incredibly blessed to have passionate and gifted speakers teach on these various topics, giving the students a change of pace and perspective every couple of days. After two solid weeks of learning, we all walked away with full brains and tired bodies.
In the midst of all our team bonding and classroom lectures, we also had a blast getting our hands dirty with practical experience. During our many lab times, we studied patient assessments, wound care, radio communications, confined spaces, cribbing and leveraging, counseling, and much more.
Finally, we put all of our skills to the test through various mock scenarios. These scenarios are dynamic and incorporate live victims with mock injuries. We select complex locations for practice in all the various environments of disaster relief.
Our grand finale is what is known as our “Final Scenario”. We pull out all the stops for this one, challenging the students to use practically every skill they have learned throughout their two weeks of training. The purpose is to push students to their limits and test their resolve when the chaos just seems to grow into more chaos. In the end, it is fun to see the smiles shine on the faces of those that have put so much hard work into learning the material. The reward is when they say with delight that not only did the material make sense, but they were also able to perform the skills with excellence.
The course ended on a high note with many friendships made, many friendships deepened, many skills learned, many skills solidified, but most importantly God was glorified. When disasters come, bringing chaos, fear, and death, the team is able to be the hands and feet of Christ to the lonely and brokenhearted.