Q. Do I need to be a medical professional to join RescueNet?
A. Definitely not, although that is a bonus. In disaster response there is a place for people with all levels of medical training as well as other types of training and experience. We will give you the basic training you need to be able to deploy with qualified, experienced leaders and help you find further training in areas of your interest.
Q. What are the prerequisites for training with RescueNet?
A. You need to have current 1st Aid / CPR certification. (We can help you find 1 st Aid / CPR training if you need it.) Having your certification before training with us allows us to focus our training on more advanced and specific areas of disaster response and also helps us keep the course fees as low as possible.
Q. Where is RescueNet?
A. RescueNet is international and broadly-based. We have an office in the U.S. (Las Vegas,) Australia (Sydney) and Europe (Heerde, Holland.) We are looking to expand into many, many other nations so we are able to deploy quickly into any area of the world.
Q. How do I get involved?
A. Look around our site for more information, then register for our next training course. This is the entry into RescueNet. Fill out the registration form and send it back with your registration fee. (Make sure you have your 1st Aid / CPR before arriving for the RN training. If you don’t know how to acquire this certification, check your local Red Cross or American Heart Association chapter. Call us if you get stuck; we will help you arrange it.)
Q. What does the RescueNet training cover?
A. The course is two weeks long and covers many of the basic concepts of emergency disaster response including remote 1 st Aid, Search and Rescue, Radio Communication, Disaster Psychology and basic Fire Suppression (see the sample schedule.) At the end of the course there are assessment exercises to help see what you’ve learned and where your areas needing improvement are. There is one written exercise and one practical exercise. Also, RescueNet will hold advanced training courses from time to time which you will be expected to attend as you are able.
Q. Tell me more about these final exercises.
A. The exam is a written test that helps us determine if you have been able to grasp and remember the important concepts of your training. It is not pass / fail.
The scenario is a practical, hands-on “exam” in which you will put into practice all the skills you have learned during the course in a team setting. With your class you will enter a mock disaster situation under RescueNet leadership supervision. We will attempt to create an environment that simulates an actual disaster scene as realistically as possible. You and your team will work to respond to that scene as capably as possible. Again, this is not pass / fail.
Q. Sounds pretty intense. I don’t know if I can handle it.
A. We will do all we can to prepare you throughout the course for the scenario. Remember, we are looking to add teammates to this ministry; we are not trying to make people fail. The scenario is a great chance for you to put everything into practice. It will help you feel that you really can do this. You will have actually done the skills that we talked about. The course will be very practical, not simply theory.
Q. What happens after I complete the training course? Am I then a RescueNet member?
A. No. After the training course there is no obligation on your part to join RescueNet, but if you complete the training successfully you can choose to apply to become a team member. Conversely, just because you complete the course does not make you a team member. RescueNet leadership will review your participation during the course, your written exam and your performance during the final scenario. We are not looking for perfection, but because of the events that we respond to, we are looking for people who have the determination and aptitude to respond appropriately in a large-scale crisis.
Q. Okay, let’s say I join the team, then what?
If you apply and are accepted we will send you your credentials and you will become a “Probationary Team Member.” The Probationary Period (PP) consists of two phases:
- 1. You will first be required to staff a RescueNet training course at any of the locations where it is offered. This gives leadership and experienced staff time to assess you in a team context. This phase must be completed in order to be able to deploy with us. You will then have to acquire some basic gear and vaccines in order to be deployable.
- 2. The second phase of the PP is an actual deployment. Once you have engaged in a deployment with us and have demonstrated competence on the field, you will exit your probationary phase and become a “Team Member.”
If either phase is not completed successfully you will be invited to repeat that phase and we will help you shore up the areas you may be having difficulty with.
Q. What kind of equipment will I need?
A. There are various levels of equipment and gear you will need. It depends on what kind of specialty you choose, if you decide to specialize. Search and Rescue, Fire, Counseling, Medical, etc. all have special equipment that goes along with those arenas. Basic, general PPE (Personal Protective Equipment – boots, helmet, goggles, tools, clothing, etc.) will cost approximately US$2000. You need to have many key components of this PPE before you will be able to deploy, but not all of it.
Q. Are the funds all my responsibility?
A. While we are pursuing sponsorship for team members, we are still self-funded. We are all volunteers. You will need to supply your own uniform and protective gear (PPE) before deploying and you will be responsible for your airfare to and expenses during a deployment.
Q. How often will we deploy?
A. This is really hard to say. It depends on how many disasters occur during any given time period, what type they are, how many team members are available and many other factors taken into account as we pray about each potential deployment. As our team size and skills grow, we will be able to respond to more disasters, but we will not respond to each and every disaster that occurs.
Q. Do I have to go each time I am called?
A. No. If a call-out is given and you are invited to deploy, we expect you will pray and ask others to pray for you. Also, you will likely have obligations (ministry, work, family, etc) that will need to be cleared before you are able to deploy with us. If all these areas are clear, then please join us. You are always free to say no.
Q. When a disaster strikes, will I be called?
A. If you complete the training successfully and join them team, you will be called whenever RescueNet goes on alert, unless you have informed us that you are unavailable during a certain period. We ask you to pray and consult your family / job / leadership immediately and see if you are able to deploy. We will call, but you are free to say “no.” However, if you do not deploy with us after several calls or a few years, then we might ask if you’re really still in it.
Q. Will I be expected to go whenever/wherever?
A. Disasters are, by very nature, largely unpredictable and unexpected. Responding during the first few days and weeks are critical for providing life-saving care. We often need to leave immediately upon notification of a disaster outbreak in order to arrive in a timely manner. This can be chaotic for responders and their families, but it is the nature of what we do. Sometimes an advance team will go ahead and scout the area and make preparations for the team. This can give the rest of the team time to prepare, but only a couple days, and only sometimes.
We typically will know only the basics of our deployment when we leave. We will often have a contact in the area giving us information and will have some details about our initial location and mission… however this can change by the time we land and will likely change several times during our deployment. If we are traveling to an area you don’t feel safe in (and this will happen) you have the option to pray it through and decline.
This is because we go to dangerous places by our very nature. It’s who we are. People need to know going in that we will be in some of the roughest, most devastated and potentially dangerous scenarios in the world. However, we always put our team’s safety above the needs around us.
Q. Do I have to renew annually?
A. We ask that when you return home to your local community you will engage in some sort of community service that furthers your RescueNet training. In this way you will be learning new skills and keeping them sharp all the time so that when a call-out comes, you are prepared and confident. This might mean joining a local volunteer (or paid) ambulance or fire team, or perhaps becoming a local trauma counselor. If you need ideas or help finding services, let us know.
You will need to keep your 1st Aid/ CPR certifications current at all times. Usually they will need to be renewed every 2 years. This is the basic level of emergency response. We hope you can join RN for further training every two years or so also. That’s not mandatory, but you must be involved in some sort of ongoing learning and training in order to keep your skills up to date and ready for deployment.
Q. What if I am not interested in medical; is there a place for other gifts?
A. Absolutely! On the field we need search and rescue teams (involving some medical,) disaster counselors, fire fighters, equipment techs, translators, logistical coordinators, and just generally organized, helpful people.
At home we need people to coordinate everything for those that have gone on-location. Administrators, communicators, people to arrange travel, or monitor weather and political updates – you’re all welcome and needed! It takes a lot to send a team out, and we need people at home to make things happen on the field.
Please call for answers to any other questions you have.