The Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team (DAT) is a staple of emergency management across the U.S. Regularly deployed to provide relief to the victims of house fires, floods, and tornado damage, their job is to start people on the road to recovery, getting them connected with a variety of agencies and services through the Red Cross that will help to get traumatized people back on their feet again. Their members receive basic training in disaster management that, while not qualifying them to organize a full-scale relief effort, gives ample knowledge and experience to allow them to safely assist in emergency management and to provide a large pool of volunteers in the case of major catastrophe.
While DAT usually deploys locally, with volunteers and staff working out of a central regional hub, it is not strange to see volunteers from several chapters sent nationwide or internationally to deal with particularly destructive events as is the current case in Nepal.
On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook the Asian country. It has been followed by more than 50 aftershocks, including a catastrophic 7.3 quake on May 12, that have all made recovery in the region extremely difficult. The Indian and Chinese governments, usually unwilling to work together when it comes to the contested region of Nepal, have deployed separate aid efforts and been attempting to stabilize the region since the first quake struck
The Disaster Action Team has proved to be one of the largest and most impactful relief organizations on the ground in Nepal, engaging both local DAT responders as well as bringing in a team of 11 international disaster specialists. 4700 volunteers are working alongside the Disaster Action Team to help map the devastated region and provide support for the weary Nepalese people.
While coordinated governments are doing everything in their power to help the people of Nepal, the manpower and 5 million dollars worth of aid and support contributed by the Red Cross and the Disaster Action team, are a major boon to the recovery effort, and this is not an isolated incident.
The Haiti earthquakes, the Japanese tsunamis, and a whole host of major disasters over the past decade have seen DAT volunteers deployed in the hundreds and even the thousands, and you can join them. Local Red Cross chapters exist across the U.S. and all over the world, and there are new DAT orientation programs every month. The training they provide will not only help to develop basic emergency management skills, but more importantly will give you the tools you need to assist in emergency management efforts all over the world.