CARSON CITY, Nev. -- When disaster strikes, the natural thing to do is try to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. Disaster victims who have lost everything strike a responsive chord in people's hearts and everyone wants to help with money, manpower and materials. But disaster recovery is a long-term process requiring long-term solutions.
"We can't be myopic," says John Chavez, a Voluntary Agency Liaison lead for FEMA. "We've really got to concentrate on the big picture. It really is long-term recovery."
Chavez encouraged city leaders, residents and business owners to form a Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) similar to models developed by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). The LTRC concept fosters the idea of coordination, collaboration, cooperation and communication at all levels of the disaster response. These "four Cs" are critical, Chavez says.
"Most organizations have a well developed sense of what they do, including disaster recovery," Chavez says. "They have their own staffing methods, database systems, goals and differing resources available to them. LTRC participation means merging the expertise all of these organizations to eliminate duplication and coordinate effective case management for those affected who have unmet needs."
This, Chavez says, is a process that takes time and can't be done overnight.
"The process can seem agonizingly slow in the beginning, but if the planning is done right with the agencies working together, the recovery can be performed more quickly and effectively than would otherwise be the case," Chavez said.
Fernley's LTRC has chosen the name Fernley Long-Term Recovery Team. Already moving to help people affected by the disaster, the team has established a site for donated property and is encouraging volunteers to sign up for case management training provided by disaster consultants from UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The training is Friday evening and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, at Calvary Chapel, 875 Fremont in Fernley.
For information, contact 775-784-9903 or 916-374-1584.
The donation center is at 1301 Chisholm Trail, Fernley, in a building provided by Goodwill Industries. A temporary sign marks the location for the site, which is open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Looking at the big picture, the first step for Fernley's Long Term Recovery Team is information gathering, Chavez says. A comprehensive profile of the disaster's impact on the community and individuals must be developed in a comprehensive needs assessment. All information may not be available at the beginning, but will be revealed as time passes, needs become known and resources are developed or identified.
"The important thing to remember is that participation is never required, but always voluntary," Chavez says. "All participants are equal partners. This is a time for figuring out who can do the best job to meet a particular need."
Participation generally falls into one of the three categories mentioned above ? money, materials and manpower. The committee's job is to focus all three where they can be most effective. Fernley's team is focused on locating flood residents with unmet needs and cautioning residents about contractor fraud pending arrival of an experienced building team to help residents. The team has an office at Fernley City Hall. Call 775-784-9971 for information.
Voluntary agencies are well-grounded in the communities they serve. They are the friends and neighbors of the disaster victims and are already committed to community service. Long-term recovery committees are trusted because the people involved in them have already developed trust within the commun...