Thoughts on the “TSP-DRT” – Disaster Response Team

On Wednesday I floated the idea of the TSP-DRT or The Survival Podcast Disaster Response Team.  Since then I have been amazed by three things…

  • The amount of positive input by those that want to help
  • The tremendous amount of negativity by the well-meaning that I feel didn’t really hear what I said
  • The sheer number of, “why not just be part of _____ group that already does that”?

Let’s take these one at a time and try to help everyone understand this a bit better.

The amount of positive input by those that want to help

This has been great just understand in the early stages what I most need are “national coordinator honcho types”.  The reason will be outlined in the next section.  Those just saying you want to help, etc, likely won’t hear back for a bit and should stay tuned in as the project progresses.

Those of you wanting to help at the honcho level, I have responded to most but I am going to try to sync all of you up some time next week.  Right now I am away and there is always a lag in stuff being on the show and responses coming in.  I think we have a core already of very professional experienced folks to set up the structure, procedure, interaction with authority, etc.    Those in this group please understand I won’t be telling you what to do, but asking you to tell me what to do.

The tremendous amount of negativity by the well-meaning that I feel didn’t really hear what I said

This is directly addressed by the above.  In the episode I stated that I had realized that “I am not prepared to help people hundreds of miles from where I live and I should be”.  This doesn’t mean more stuff in my preps and increasing the range of my vehicle, it means the organization to make it logistically possible and for that matter helpful rather than harmful to other responders.

So many have commented that “volunteers are often in the way” etc.  Or that FEMA doesn’t want private groups just showing up, etc.   The reality is that there are ways, procedures and systems in place for private groups to be effective and help out.  Systems like NIMS.  I knew about NIMS but was not aware that such groups could just plug into until last week.  One of the prospective honchos explained that to me in an email and explained how it does a lot to give FEMA etc. a feeling that your group is legitimate.

That is just ONE fact I was not aware of two days ago, and it is a critical one.  This is why the Honcho Team is being assembled.  It is also why they will take control of this with me only providing the vision and the promotion to garner  volunteers.  Our team will be all volunteer but it will be professional because it will be run by professionals.

Come on guys, I am not some dumbass that wants to load a bunch of TSPers into a bus and show up and say, “okay we are here to help”.  Far from it, responders will know what they are to bring, what they are to secure in route, where they are to go, who they are to report to and what to do when they arrive.

The sheer number of, “why not just be part of _____ group that already does that”?

Let’s begin this with CERT.  I find CERT to be a colossal waste of time.  Bryan Black at ITS took the course and said it was mostly how to tag victims as (treatable, dead, going to die so let them die, etc.).  Others have had better experience with the training.  However, the universal thing I hear about CERT is the CERT teams show up and are told to go away during actual disasters.  This is NOT my goal.  Now perhaps there is value in all DRT members having CERT as one qualification?  I don’t know, not my decision, the honchos who actually have done this stuff for a living will decide.

I started with CERT because it is unique from the other groups I keep hearing about.  Groups like Rubicon and ANTS, etc.  I keep being urged to just support one of them or partner with them and I just sigh every time I do.  Do any of you guys suggesting this have any idea how special you and the other members of the community you are part of really are?  Seriously, do you understand that at all, do you have any idea?

Look at the TSP Forum, there is nothing like it on the web.   No other preparedness forum is run as well, I say that with confidence.  None is more diverse; none more welcoming to beginners, none more fairly run.   Why?  I don’t run it, I don’t do much at all.  In the beginning I set a vision, a tone and an expectation for excellence, found a core team and got out of their way.  Now they have expanded their team, are 100% self-policing and tirelessly help the entire TSP community even those never on the forum.

Look at the TSP Zello Channel, same thing.  The channel is so awesome that Zello Ownership and management are working with our team to improve the entire platform.  The folks running the channel are surprised that I am not more involved, I don’t plan to be.  I got it running; I set the tone, the expectation, let leaders rise, gave them authority and got the hell out of the way.  Why smart leaders never want to run everything.  When you do that you rob other leaders of their potential and you do a shitty job on many things verses a great job on a few things.

Why would I want to hobble the leadership in the TSP community with the limitations, politics and expectations of an existing group?  Or in another sense why would we now practice community socialism instead of republic based capitalism?  Innovation, improvement and meeting unmet demand do not come from becoming an employee in a successful company.  These attributes arise from creating new organizations that fill in the gaps.  Whether a company is “for profit” or “not for profit” doesn’t change the way real innovation is attained.

The DRT will be unique and fill in gaps in the current system.  If there were no such gaps, the DRT would not be needed and all victims would already be getting help as soon as is reasonably possible.  Clearly that isn’t the case, so innovation, uniqueness and a new form of agility are needed.  This new format however, must plug into the existing system and not step on the feet of other groups; this is why we will have honchos that know the current system to build a new component of it.

You know a lot of people think I am most proud when it comes to TSP of the fact that I can actually do what I love and make a decent living with it.  Such people are wrong.  I am most proud of the community itself.  You guys are absolutely amazing, seriously.  Everything I touch seems to work only because it isn’t me, it is you.   We can coordinate with other groups, learn from them, work with them but we are not going to be part of them.  DRT will be uniquely TSP because frankly you guys are awesome folks; we have tremendous diversity, ethics and leadership here.  Such things are best set free and allowed to develop fully, not merged into an existing system.

Someday next week I will do a show laying the vision out at a deeper level.

 

57 Responses to Thoughts on the “TSP-DRT” – Disaster Response Team

  1. Michael Damkot

    Jack- I think it’s a great idea. I’m personally excited.

    • Modern Survival

      Michael, thanks, you are part of the group I will be putting in touch with each other next week. Got your email and not sure I answered it.

  2. The last three full paragraphs starting with

    “Why would I want to hobble the leadership in the TSP community”

    Are the most amazing words of leadership I have ever read or heard. Just flipping wow!

    This in particular needs to be in college text books if the teachers there can even understand them in our current paradigm,

    “Innovation, improvement and meeting unmet demand do not come from becoming an employee in a successful company. These attributes arise from creating new organizations that fill in the gaps. Whether a company is “for profit” or “not for profit” doesn’t change the way real innovation is attained.”

    Jack thanks so much for what you do and thank you for believing in us.

  3. Karen Anderson

    Jack,

    I hope no one said, “Join Red Cross.”

  4. Jack,

    I agree that any group should be organic, thats what makes the show great. There can be a better way.

    Brandon,

  5. The Morgan Hill Homesteding Project

    I was a part of Morgan Hill CERT and we where trained in other things like cribing, diffrent classes of fire extinguishers and how to use them.

    long story short, I was forced out because I of some baggage from my past and the city did not think it was appropreate for me to carry around a 5 inch fixed blade on my belt even though I have had bad expereince with large dogs.

    CERT can be a building block for prepping, that’s how I got listening to TSP.

  6. Jack, while I totally like ths idea, I’m gonna go ahead and be a total downer (possibly I’m also going to be a total butt hole) and say something VERY negative –not at all for the reason of just being negative, but because I truly fear I might be terribly correct as far as the possibillity of what I am about to suggest.

    You, Jack Spirko, and your whole web site are already quite likely (I don’t know this for certain, but I fear it is very likely) on some kind of a “watch list” as a potential threat to whoever makes up such lists of potential threats. The elements on the TSP web site which I suspect would put you on such a list (and frankly, you might actually be on several lists compiled by several different entities, such as those “fusion center” folks as well as the SPLC) include the firearms education you offer, the pro-Scond Amendment stance you hold, the Libertarian stance you hold, the anti-credit stance you hold, the pro-Oath Keepers stance you hold, and the fact that you have a following all over the fricking world — a following which is growing growing, growing with no sign of leveling off. At the moment, most of this web site is nothing but jabbering and free speech. And while TPTB are only somewhat alarmed by mere words (the First Amendment means nothing to such people) at least they see little by way of action on this web site.

    But now you are going to possily introduce an additional dimension to your web site, and to the world wide following which you have amassed. You are about to ask us to become not just a bunch of people who jabber at each other with words, but to also become a bunch of people who physically organize ourselves to perform action. You want to form a tangible, physical, real-life, flesh-and-blood work force/task force of people who will travel in organzed groups from one geograophic region to aother to perform specific physical tasks of intervention outside the current paradigm of let-the-government-help-you. In short, you want us to get ORGANIZED. And THIS will prompt these list-makers to assign several more degrees of severity to the “threat-level” currently deemed by them to be posed by Jack Spirko to their precious precious BAU.

    There I said it.

    I think such a response team would be awesome. But it will also change the way you are viewed by any beurocratic jerks who check off little tick boxes on their threat level assessment charts each month.

    Be strong, my friend. Be aware. And do whatever your conscience dictates.

    • Modern Survival

      @Oil Lady,

      Your are far more concerned about this then I am. I actually have a large group of listeners in both FEMA and the US Marshall’s department and we are over all thought of as quite favorable.

      • Sounds like both FEMA and the United States Marshals Service have a few intelligent people. My fear is that they are indeed only “a few,” and also I fear that this minority of intelligent members of those agencies are not very highly placed.

        Here’s to hoping that most of the intelligent ones get promoted up the ladders of their respective agencies.

    • With my training, Im on about 9 different “watch lists”. Just because your paranoid…doesnt mean your NOT being followed. Haha. Wow, that post really was a downer. Dont be so worried about it. Im not…

    • I think it is true that I would not underestimate the amount of propaganda and underhanded things that have gone on in the annuals of history, except that I refer to history that has never been written down and not real annals here, yet you still need to fight the good fight despite whatever may come ..

  7. Hey Jack count me in. I’m actually heading to New Jersey early next week.

  8. Hey Jack,
    I’m definately interested in being involved. I am currently working my son’s boy scout troop and the American legion that charters their troop to help those in my neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter we just had.

  9. Doug Bergstrom

    Jack … put me down to help – doug

  10. Jack and friends, My background is in disaster response. I’m a card carrying First Responder, C.E.R.T. Team instructor, Trained in Incident Command for F.E.M.A.(ICS 300) , CPR&AED Instructor. Please let me know how to get involved.

  11. Hank Curmudgeon

    Jack,

    I feel a bit insulted by your statement “The tremendous amount of negativity by the well-meaning that I feel didn’t really hear what I said”.

    That “tremendous amount of negativity” is simply people who, it would seem based upon what they wrote, were simply stating their experiences with major disaster response and relating those experiences and observations regarding obstacles your idea may encounter. After rereading the comments not a single ‘negative’ response was telling you not to proceed with your idea. Disregard their input as you see fit but then don’t install the following boilerplate on every episodes page:

    “Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon.”

    With regards to the “tremendous amount” and “sheer number of” posts that you found disagreeable I broke it down. (It should be noted there were 55 posts on the episode 1015 page at the time I did my calculations. Additional posting will obviously change the final breakdown.)

    Removing your (Jack’s) replies (10), posts regarding bees (6) and neutral posts, defined as neither enthusiastic nor cautionary or simply offering suggestions (10) we are left with 29 posts that break down as follows:

    - Five posts were cautionary in nature, what you refer to as negative, for a total of 17.2%.

    - Eighteen posts clearly of a positive nature for a total of 61.9%.

    - “Join Someone Else” had six posts for a total of 20.6%.

    I’m thinking any reasonable person would agree that 17.2% is not a “tremendous amount” and 20.6% is hardly equals a “sheer number of” when you essentially have 61.9% agreeing with you.

    I’d like to suggest that rather than posting terse replies to those who merely offer their experiences as a cautionary note for you to learn from perhaps you should be thanking them instead for caring enough about you and your idea to take the time to respond.

    With much respect,
    Hank

    P.S. Even organized and well recognized responders can get turned away in the cluster *&%# that is disaster response… http://www.theblaze.com/stories/tennessee-volunteers-reportedly-turned-away-from-sandy-recovery-efforts/

    P.P.S. Here’s a positive op-ed relates exactly to what Jack wants to do with TRD… http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/we-will-continue-to-pursue-an-america-that-embraces-community-over-government-dependence/

    • Hank Curmudgeon

      Sorry, that P.P.S. should have read…
      Here’s a positive op-ed that relates exactly to what Jack wants to do with DRT…

    • Well said amigo!!

    • Hank i could be wrong but Jack might also be adding in email responses and not just posts on the show comments.

    • Modern Survival

      @Hank, get over it, you are entitled to you opinion you are not entitled to dictate how it will be responded to. Next spend a day in my email box before you decide that a response like this is really even about you specifically.

  12. This is the best idea to come to disaster response in my 22 years of training and providing rescue/EMS service. Jack, I will do whatever you and fellow TSP members need of me and my family. If we don’t do for ourselves, then no one will.

  13. +2 boots on the ground from Backwoods Engineer. I am not a leader of men, but I have solid comms skills, a ham radio license, ham gear and willing to use it to help others. Also willing to do other things with TSP-DRT.

    A country boy can survive, and can help others do the same. Let’s get this ball rolling.

  14. Jack, send me an email. i think I can help with the setup of this thing. I’ll send you my qualifications and let you decide.

    • I am involved in CERT here in SoCal. Students are taught disaster triage, disaster first aid, fire suppression, light search & rescue, cribbing, and coordinating with an Incident Command system. Advanced training is offered. CERT coordinates with local cities office of emergency services, and played an important role in the ’94 Northride earthquake. Many of my friends are firefighters and cops. My brother is a Fire Lieutenant. While not used frequently, they all inform me that CERT is seen as valuable.

  15. Your comments are well justified my friend. I am just an old geek, Database Administrator. If you have a need, let me know.

  16. Team Rubicon. Check them out.

  17. Never mind, you already addresses it.

  18. Jack Send me an Email Also. I would be interested in getting this going, possibly serving as a coordinator for the Mid West Region. I can give Certs and Quals. In email if Desired.

  19. Cohasset’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) was mobilized and ready to go during the cleanup effort following Superstorm Sandy.

    The 16-member team, led by Director of Emergency Management Glenn Pratt, completed a 10-week training course on October 20. Now, there are 16 volunteers who are certified as first responders.

    “It was pretty timely — we used everyone a week later,” Pratt said of the training. “We got them certified in the nick of time. We’re always ready because you never know what’s going to happen.”

    http://cohasset.m.wickedlocal.com/wkdCohasset/pm_31412/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=JV1pjl7L

    • Modern Survival

      Good to hear, like I said my view of CERT may be wrong or at least it may be highly regional. Like I said the leaders may decide one part of getting certified for DRT is CERT certification. I just don’t know but with people on the honcho council that have been incident commanders I trust in their greater experience and knowledge on this issue.

  20. 100% in line with the mission. Vettezuki on board, Southern California chapter.

  21. Even “Occupy” is getting in on the concept. Posted on Yahoo Sat AM 11/10 http://news.yahoo.com/occupy-sandy-onetime-protesters-cause-074517400.html
    “You might be surprised at what has become a lauded and effective relief organization for victims of Superstorm Sandy: Occupy Wall Street.
    The social media savvy that helped Occupy protesters create a grass-roots global movement last year… is proving a strength as members fan out across New York to deliver aid including hot meals, medicine and blankets.”

  22. Jack,
    I sent you an e-mail, and think it’s a great idea. I can help with the honcho type level stuff, but can be “The guy” due to time commitment. Hope to hear back from you so I can help you get this thing going. Don’t give up, you’re doing a hell’va thing here.
    -Steve

  23. I think its a great idea. Count me in as a volunteer but I have too many irons in the fire to run something like this.

  24. Interesting arc of thought from the early episode thirty-ish on a new civilian militia to this. I’m hoping that this somehow can morph or trickle into a block team of sorts–not an away team, a home team. Hearth and home. I can’t respond to 30o0 miles away, but if things go sideways on my block I’d love to have some loose organization that can go to work on a block level whether it’s response, security, or a combination.

    This is my hope and goal. Oh, and the new civilian militia really should be called (and maybe sponsored by) Carhartt Nation. That can be their uniform too. C’mon, product tie-in, anyone? And Mechanix gloves wouldn’t be a bad secondary sponsor. Redwing or Danner boots. . . .might as well sell some space to cover costs, ya know, ala NASCAR.

  25. I am a CERT volunteer and just a heads up about CERT. My understanding is they have funding for 2 years then the Federal Govt plans on cutting CERT funding and it will be up to State or local govt to either pick up the funding or the program will go away

  26. Just copied this from the forums.
    Hello Friends,
    Well, where to begin here? I would like to start by addressing some of the concerns found in the previous posts. First and foremost is liability, I believe that this is a very actual and valid concern which can be addressed by a couple of different ways; first and simplest would be anonymity. No banners, no name tags, no magnetic car signs, not even introducing yourself by name, etc. Staying on the periphery and trying our best not to get in the way. I also find this to be the hardest to enforce and most likely to subverted unintentionally.
    Second would be training. This can afford such luxuries as being covered under the state your participating in’s workman’s comp insurance. Many states such as Alabama DO NOT HAVE GOOD SAMARITAN LAWS to protect you. To the best of my knowledge the minimum level of training that can limit your personal liability is C.E.R.T. Community Emergency Response Team training. Any other group I can think of may not self deploy without opening yourself up to grave personal liability issues. CERTs are self deployed! I’m not a lawyer (thank God) and do not pretend to understand how this could affect liability in connection to any group. Enough on that…
    Next would be communication. Outside the affected area I imagine it should not be much of a problem to use such things like the forums here, e-mail or even a phone number tree to get coordinated before going in further. However while inside an affected area the only way to ensure reliable communication will be radio. Here is where M.U.R.S. comes in. Ham requires a license, FRS will likely be overused and the best way to communicate up to a couple miles will be M.U.R.S radios. They offer similar range to C.B. and will be much less likely to be “stepped on” or eavesdropped upon.
    Any constructive criticism is welcome. Will address other issues in later posts.

  27. Below are a couple of interesting comments from the Occupy story posted above. Reinforces our idea of doing this.

    “I live in a tiny upstate NY pocket that came through Sandy relatively well. Two local volunteer firehouses set up drives and we loaded trucks and cars with food, clothing, supplies, gasoline and propane. The Red Cross refused our donations saying they wanted money not supplies and FEMA folks told us to dump it until they could decide what to do with it. We gave it to the Occupy Sandy movement who immediately began distributing it.”

    “I live in Joplin MO… Similar here. Except we had people coming in from the 4 states (AR, MO, KS and OK) with supplies by the truckloads. Chainsaws, equipment and more… Most was private from individuals with means, churches and businesses. FEMA did a good job on other stuff…But they were here days later.”

  28. Check out Recovers.org. Two sisters started a disaster recovery software for communities. Could be a great synergy or at least a model of what can be done to help in a disaster. You can also check their overview on TED talks.

    This may be a great model to offer as open source to communities in need. You could have 2-3 people roll in with some laptops and help organize efforts. Maybe not as hands on, but 10x more powerful.

    Dave

  29. First off, I agree with the people who say CERT gets minimized in actual disasters. That has definitely been my experience as well. I found the training useful, but after that we became something between a liability and a joke to our local full time responders. Also getting to listen to my local police talk with each other has severely reduced my ability to trust them to help me under any circumstances. At least I got THAT education cheaply!

    On the other side, here’s an article about how companies like WalMart respond to disasters and how they use JIT delivery to get back up and running as soon as roads are clear.

    http://www.wired.com/business/2012/11/sandy-supply-chain-impact/

  30. CERT has obviously changed from when I took it. I was trained in cribbing, communications, some rescue.
    I was also trained that I was dedicated to my neighborhood. NOT other areas and NOT working for the FEMA etc. (The local incident commander would be the exception) Our training was to minimize the waste of resources of local emergency responders. The emergency responder did not need to search where the CERT volunteers had already searched and marked the location with the information that the responders need. We were trained so that we would not be part of the problem.

  31. The sad state of affairs (governments) is that the people who should know don’t. For example, how many of your readers have attended CERT, LEAPC, and other emergency responder meetings and noticed the absence of community leaders. Katrina was a good example. The mayor and governor were clueless about the procedures for initiating Federal response. I am willing to bet that they were ‘too busy’ to attend the training and they when the shtf they didn’t even know who had attended.

    One can find what CERT is about at http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/

    The misuse of CERT by governments will be the ruin of a good concept. I have refused to respond a requests to set up beds for Katrina victims because it was not the charter of CERT to do so.

    It doesn’t address the survival of the individual or the family.

    Modern Survival’s other teachings do.

  32. Jack, your exactly wrong about C.E.R.T. being regional. Its purpose and structure is perfectly opposite of that. The reason for C.E.R.T. existing is for universal procedures and language.

    • I have recently joined my local volunteer fire department and once I’m trained and competent in the various aspects of it, that I would love to be apart of this.

  33. MichiganNimrod

    Like blueeyedmule above I am game to help but it will have to be local. I am not able to drop everything and go hundreds of miles. I do not have the time or experience to lead but would be interested in helping as a lower level (county level) minion leader. I will watch as it plays out and hopefully be able to help.

  34. I’m all in for the DiRT team.

    The “i” simply representing my participation. I like the idea of calling them DiRT teams instead of D-R-T. Because it kind of insinuates were going to get our hands dirty.

    I think regional resources and abilities could be helpful to organize. I have a 6′x10′ box trailer (but currently no vehicle to tow it). Also could access a small tractor, but no means to haul it.

    These are thoughts I have.

    One other thing I think of importance is DRT sitters. Seriously, I’d be willing to take a day or two off from work. My wife is a nurse. But we have three kids.

    Perhaps we can eventually help erect an infrastructure to allow more of those willing to go & help.

  35. Jack I would like to be able to help. Moving to Ft Sam with in the week looking at a 1000 mile radius from San Antonio area. Firefighter, Ham, EMT, Soldier.
    Will talk to my command and let them know I am on DRT as soon as you are up with the system.
    Long live the freedom of the people.

  36. My oldest sons are preping for Paramedic course and will be wildland firefighter red carded shortly after their b-Day

  37. Hey Jack,
    I am a long time listener but have never posted until now. I think this is a great idea and is needed. I would love to help out with this. I am ex-Navy, was a volunteer fire fighter and search and rescue, and am a Ham radio operator. I am in the N. Florida/ S. Georgia area.

  38. Hey Jack,
    I think this is a great idea and I would love to help out. I was a volunteer fire fighter and Boy Scout leader for over ten years. I am in the East TX area.

  39. Would like to join you in this mission, if still heading forward with drt. This exact subject has been stuck in my craw for many years, but only as good intentions which needs to be put to action.

    • Modern Survival

      We have a board of directors elected, training outline formalized and are filing for the non profit status as we speak.