Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rethinking volunteers and search and rescue

During the Indonesian Tsunami I Immediatly wanted to help, being winter with business being at almost a standstill I made some calls to see where I could be of most use, I presented what I felt were my qualifications, born and raised on a small "farm" I felt that I had the knowledge how to handle and deal with most crisis relating to agriculture especially where animals are concerned, I also touted most heavily the fact I am a licensed Construction contractor with my skills being primarily in the repair of sewer and water lines, debre's clean up, and of course the ability to properly operate nearly any piece of equipment, I was stoked, I was going around the world to truly put my sklls to work. Not so, orgniazation after organization simply asked "do you have a degree" well uhm no I do not, "tehn you have nothing to to offer us" I was quit litterally told this several times. I was shocked, how on earth could anyone come to teh conclusion someone with an accounting degree had more qualifications than someone who not only works in construction, but manages construction projects to work in a disaster zone? The right thing for me to do would simply to have been to ignore them and to have booked a flight on my own, I did not, and I have regretted it since, I also at the time somewhat bought into the "well its important to have qualified people onsite to help with the rescue efforts" now this is true, but let us look into this statement, we know that time is of the essence when trying to rescue anyone. Dehydration, injuries, hypothermia all lessen the time someone is able to survive, so Having a handful of qualified individuals really only allows the rescue of a select few. To me its important to get bodies out in the fiedl of a major disaster, and anyone willing should be allowed on board, hell in my case even I was willing to pay for my own plane ticket. Now on site the nonsense of "said person will be in the way" is just sthat, as a business owner/manager for well over a decade now I have had to take people quit litterally on the spot to fill a vacency and directed said person to do a job in a somewhat compitant manner. A good director of personal is able to quickly figure out what each person may be good for even if that may only be helping to carry a stretcher or handing out bottles of water. Will there be mistakes? Of course there will be, but for gods sake there are lives on the line and its important to do everything in our power to save people any way we can, having unqualified people walking on these area's at least pointing and shouting encouragement to survivors woudl help immensly, and having those in the construction field used to working with debre's IMO is invaluable, cant we at least get this right?

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