The disasters in the Gulf Coast, Haiti, and now Japan have many travelers wanting to see how they can help.
But when it comes to emergency disaster relief, the more skills you have, the more effective you can be.
All good intentions aside, untrained volunteers can do more harm than good in chaotic situations or when there is a lack of infrastructure in place.
Not only that, but disaster relief both physically and mentally straining.
To be a first responder, the requirements aren’t light. We’re talking months-long commitments, years of prior experience, fluency in the local language, and specific technical expertise.
Individuals with this training should register with the Center for International Disaster Information database.
The CIDI can also provide need-to-know information for NGOs, corporations, and community groups.
Not sure where to start? The Red Cross,offers disaster-relief training and emergency-preparedness courses.
Community Emergency Response Teams is a government-supported organization that offers training programs in search and rescue, fire safety, and medical operations.
And training courses are just the start.
Stay involved as an active responder in your own community … as a volunteer firefighter myself, I can tell you it’s the most educational–and rewarding–experience you can get.
Learn about the latest disaster and how you might be able to help in our Natural Disasters section.
And check out the rest of our Daily Travel Tips here.