Every few days our news services report on cyclones, earthquakes, bush fires, chemical spills, wars and movements of large numbers of refugees. Each one of these incidents require teams of highly trained specialists who can go into these situations to bring stability and give emergency care to those effected by the disaster. RescueNet is a specialist ministry of ARMS that has been set up for just such a purpose.
In any emergency there is a gap in services that appears right at the very beginning of the crisis. As response groups gear up to address the needs within that crisis, decisions are made to work with the most life threatening situations first, thus large amounts of the resources are often focused on just 20% of the overall effected population. RescueNet is a disaster response ministry of ARMS that has been designed to free up further specialized services and to help stabilize the needs of the greater majority of the population whose needs may be overlooked in the first few days of a crisis. RescueNet aims to provide on site stabilization or around 10 days to 4 weeks or until other larger aid agencies can take over. RescueNet Australia deployed into Iraq in March 2003 just after the war began, and provided emergency medical help at hospitals in Umm Qasr, Basra, Al Qrna and other towns in southern Iraq.
In December 2004 RescueNet spent three weeks in the Philippines providing emergency care for thousands of refugees affected by the typhoons and mudslides that saw hundreds of communities wiped out and thousands of families displaced.
RescueNet has deployed teams into the Pakistan and its responded to the Boxing Day Tsunami and the crisis in East Timor (2006).
In October 2009 RescueNet sent disaster response teams into the Samoan Tsunami and the Earthquake in Padang Indonesia. In 2010 RescueNet responded to the Haiti earthquake again drawing its team from Australia, Europe and the United States.
You can visit the more detailed RescueNet website here
RescueNet workers are highly skilled volunteers who regularly go through rigorous training programs that keep their skills honed. All team members are ready at 24-48 hours notice to deploy to any location in the world where there is a disaster. The current smallness of the team though means that not all disasters can be responded to, but as the team grows so will our ability to respond.
Most RescueNet team members are also members of a local Emergency Services group such as St John Ambulance, volunteer fire fighters, or State Emergency Services. Their membership to these organizations helps them to maintain their skills.
The two week RescueNet training course briefly exposes the participants to the various fields of emergency relief work such as First Aid, Light Search and Rescue, Fire Fighting and Prevention, Disaster Psychology, Radio Communications, etc. Once trained, each member seeks out further training from other agencies or groups in their area of specialty.
RescueNet is developing an international strategy to train people for service in disaster situations. People who want to join RescueNet must have successfully completed the RescueNet Basic Training program before they can apply. Details of our next training courses together with other information on RescueNet can be found on the RescueNet website www.rescuenet.org.au.
ARMS is also preparing to set up a “second phase” ministry that will train workers for medium to long term service in refugee camps and other protracted crisis situations.
Financial support for RescueNet is essential to maintain the ministry, disaster response is a very expensive business and equipment can be costly. One way you can help RescuNet is to make a donation into the ARMS Disaster Trust. Funds from this are invested and provide an annual income for RescueNet so that it can go about the business of responding to disasters. More information about the ARMS Disaster Trust can be found here.
2 Wentworth St (PO Box 132)
Port Kembla, NSW, 2505, Australia
Ph: 02 4274 1090
Fax: 02 4274 9909
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