Land Mines, Refugees And Helicopters

Disaster Response class - Spring 2009Mike and Sean are attending MTW’s Disaster Response training in Valencia, Pennsylvania.  The training lasts until May 10th.  It prepares volunteers to respond rapidly to calls around the world to bring medical care, crisis counseling, and engineering/construction assistance after a disaster strikes.

helicopter landing to start our trainingOn Thursday our class went on a three mile hike and ended at a site where we set up camp for three days.  Until Saturday our group camped in a scenario that replicated a refugee disaster camp.  We spent the first two days in training exercises where we learned river crossing, navigation, load rigging, land mine detection, emergency helicopter assistance and camping basics.

searching for land minesOur group also learned and then implemented skills necessary to survive in areas where there is no infrastructure.  We worked on food safety, water purification, emergency medical procedures, digging latrines and more.

Saturday morning we put it all together.  Our team organized and ran a mock medical clinic that was created to serve fictional Haitian refugees.  Our instructors and two dozen members of a local church acted as refugees and replicated difficult scenarios that put our training to the test.  Our clinic had grief victims, drunk locals, militant warlords, confrontational media, language barriers and locals stealing our medical equipment.  The three hour clinic concluded with the exchange of automatic rifle fire and our team fleeing via a pre-established escape route.

This training has been amazing and has prepared us to do some remarkable work in the future.