Disaster Resiliency: Preparation & Mitigation
Volunteer Reception Center
As part of the Winyah Bay Long-term Recovery Group, BRUW manages the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) for Georgetown County and supports in training and volunteer recruitment for Williamsburg County.
The VRC is a designated center for volunteers to converge upon with a qualified staff available to welcome, interview, train, and assign them to service as they arrive. The VRC is also a communications system to transmit information about the volunteering process, including details about sign-up locations, appropriate clothing and other tools to bring if necessary, and available volunteer accommodations.
Once a major disaster has been declared, convergence will begin almost immediately. The sooner volunteer management resources can activate the VRC, the faster and more efficiently volunteers will be utilized in response and recovery efforts. At a VRC, volunteers are interviewed, data and information are processed and stored, assignments and referrals are made, and most other volunteer management tasks are conducted.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
In partnership with Georgetown County EMD and Williamsburg County EMD, the CERT program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Black River United Way recruits and engages volunteers to be trained team members. CERT volunteers come from all ages and all walks of life, including teenagers. CERT has youth programs stationed at schools through Teen CERT where students can serve their community and help take care of your school. The adult teams are spread across the counties.
The Resiliency Taskforce is made up of Winyah Bay COAD/VOAD members and community stakeholders to troubleshoot barriers and solutions to our communities becoming more resilient after a disaster. Traditionally, we have been reactive to the same cycle in communities focusing on response and recovery such as ensuring food, water, shelter, home repairs and case management. While home repairs and recovery continue to be in high demand, recovery ends when funds run out. Therefore, response and recovery have no sustainability alone. A new structure needs to occur. The Resiliency taskforce ensures that all 4 parts of the disaster wheel are covered.
For the Resiliency Taskforce there are three Areas of Work/Interest: (1) Individuals, which consist of agencies (who sees people daily. This is being led by Tidelands Health; (2) Community, which consist of non-governmental agencies and partners that support community. This area is led by BRUW; (3) Counties / Government, which is geared towards changing policy and advocating for systemic. This is lead by Coastal Carolina University.
Mitigation is the ongoing effort to reduce a disaster’s effect on people and property. This means taking action to reduce or eliminate long-term risk from hazards and their effects. Mitigation includes activities that reduce the severity of a future disaster’s effects on a community. Mitigation is a continuous process. Black River United participates in mitigation through construction practices that improve the community’s ability to withstand the impact of future disasters. The three programs for mitigation are the South Carolina Housing Trust Fund, Help My House!, and Build United. Resources are attached about each program
Preparedness includes activities that seek to prevent casualties, expedite response activities and minimize property damage in the event of a disaster. It is a continuous process for communities as they constantly strive to improve their readiness. Some examples of preparedness activities are: Community education and awareness. Assessment of community hazards and risks. Identification, recruitment, and training of volunteers in disaster response and recovery. Development and possible implementation of evacuation plans.
The Be Ready! program provides FEMA certified trainings and information for individuals and families to become better prepared for any disaster. Through this program BRUW is able to provide disaster preparedness kits and workshops