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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2017 Vol. 64 No. 8

Minuteman Disaster Response: Get to Know this No-Cost Response Resource

Due to its unique role in the disaster response field, Minuteman Disaster Response (MDR) is largely unknown to Texas emergency managers. Most emergency managers don't have it on their to-do lists to identify their go-to private and nonprofit disaster response partners because so very few of these resources exist. Instead, most anticipate relying on their agreements with neighboring municipalities – an important primary resource – when planning responses to larger scale disasters. However, some disasters affect several municipalities in an area, making outside aid less readily available; meanwhile, state resources may be committed to others in need. That's when MDR proves its value.

MDR is a charitable nonprofit that provides trained and equipped search and rescue (SAR) responders to emergency managers in Texas (as well those in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and others as needed). It has responded to numerous disasters since its inception in 2011, with assignments ranging from SAR (hasty, primary, secondary) to missing person searches. Minuteman has assisted with disasters in Texas in Rowlett, Van, Granbury, Forney, Lancaster, and most recently Canton and Fruitvale, not to mention several disasters in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

MDR's team is trained in wide area search, SARTECH II & III, emergency first aid, disaster scene management, NIMS/ICS (100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800), breaching and debris clearing, and other emergency management and support roles. MDR is a self-contained unit ready with gear, transport, fuel, power, shelter, and communications.

Minuteman also offers equipment resources to municipalities in which they lack or when need exceeds the capacity of existing resources. MDR can supply a mobile command truck/trailer, a portable bunkhouse/office unit, generators, and a self-contained restroom/shower trailer. It also offers an array of aerial video drones, including one with thermal imaging capability; these prove useful for SAR and providing aerial damage assessment intelligence to local authorities.

MDR's readiness is noteworthy. It sends its Storm Warn Unit in advance of threatening weather systems to provide eyes-on intelligence to team directors and to area emergency managers whose jurisdictions may be affected by such systems. In the immediate aftermath of disasters, its lead deployment team makes contact with local authorities to learn what resources may be needed. When called upon, the MDR Rapid Response Team is already geared up for potential deployment, ready to arrive within hours of the disaster.

It is important to know that MDR is a no-cost, no-liability partner. It is privately funded and insured, and it operates fully within Incident Command Structure protocol and, therefore, under local jurisdictional authority

Why has MDR put forth the effort to provide such resources to Texans for free? The answer is simple: compassion for people who are victimized by disaster and gratefulness for courageous emergency responders who risk themselves to save others. Many people offer support from afar, but MDR believes in putting it into action where the need is greatest and most immediate. Its founders and board carry this belief forward as they grow to connect with and support more communities in Texas and beyond.

MDR is constantly striving to identify new ways to serve. In the days following a disaster as victims return to their homes and businesses, they often find themselves alone and unaware of what to do next. MDR's new Relief Team comes alongside to help victims safely clean and secure their property by offering the supplies and manpower most needed for such efforts. The team also helps inform survivors of processes and resources that are available to assist them with their recovery. Finally, the Relief Team can advise communities in volunteer management, including documentation.

How can an emergency manager learn more about the value of MDR to his/her community? Simply contact MDR at 214.585.2411 or send an email to info@minutemanresponse.org to set up a visit with one of their directors.

Matt Payne
Executive Director
Minuteman Disaster Response
"When Every Minute Counts"
(214) 585-2411
minutemanresponse.org
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