Disaster Response Northwest is the west coast based rapid response team for EMPACT. Designed to put boots on the ground within 72 hours of any systemic collapse disaster, DRNW is meant to provide advanced field care for the critical first several weeks after a disaster, until larger organizations can provide more stable, long lasting services.
EMPACT Urban Search and Rescue
Meet an EMPACT USAR Team Member in his own words:
My name is Paul Stark. I have been a firefighter/ paramedic for over 20 years. Currently I work for Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One, where I have been for the past 11 years. Throughout my career, I have been involved in firefighter and first responder training. I have done USAR and mountain rescue work for over 6 years. My wife Julia and I live in Allyn, Washington with our three children, Samantha (14), Lacey (12) and Jakob (9). We moved to the west coast from Michigan 16 years ago. I am looking forward to the challenges of international disaster relief work.
Paul is one of many dedicated and experienced professionals that make up this elite rescue team. The team’s disaster portfolio’s spans over 30 years and includes events such as the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the Oklahoma City Federal building bombing, Hurricane Katrina, and World Trade Center disaster 9-11-01.
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
EMPACT Japan assessment team returned to Seattle March 23 2011. The team members were Tammara Alvarez, Kelly Melton, Sil Knoblich, Armadeus Davidson and Sosha Smith.
Our assessment found this country to be well prepared and the Japanese government was overall effective in meeting all the basics such as food, water and medical aid. In our operations theater, the system challenge was the lack of local level government support. These leaders found themselves without EOC or basic management/recovery support. EMPACT was able to identify this need immediately and call in the appropriate resources to fill this void. These organizations were staged in Tokyo and consisted of SHINE Humanity, Disaster Logistics, Jordan Int., a small team of independent doctors and nurses and two other organizations from the PNW and Canada. Currently there are six organizations operating in Ishinomaki, all brought in by EMPACT’s assessment team. I would like to commend my team members for their amazing ingenuity and adaptive abilities. Sleeping on the floor of a city hall…riding out never ending aftershocks and eating MRE’s is not ideal…but easily tolerated when you are with great people. Our mission could have been expanded or extended but due to the lack of immediately available funding our team made the choice of turning over our mission to the additional arriving organizations. There was great emphasis placed on self sufficient NGO’s by the Japanese government and we were able to hold this level of sufficiency for seven days. Sosha continues to represent EMPACT as he guides and translates for these teams in Ishinomaki and beyond.
Currently, the need for additional response is not recommended. Unless cadaver dogs, logistics specialty or large financial contribution specific to the region becomes available, line level operators should be asked to stand down. Other usage of volunteer labor would be appreciated in our Haiti projects or local fundraising activities.
Please stay tuned for future “adopt Japan” projects.
Armadeus Davidson EMPACT Japan Team Leader
Haiti Earthquake, January 2010
DISASTER RESPONSE NORTHWEST teams responded to the January 2010 Haitian Earthquake. An estimated 300 thousand people were killed within minutes to hours following the trembler.
DRNW team one, deployed to the Dominican Republic because the Port Au Prince Airport was closed. The team and its massive load of medical supplies and equipment bounced for twelve hours on Dominican Republic roads as it made its way the to the Haitian city.
The team arrived at the AIMER Haiti field hospital that was organized within hours following the quake. Here, DRNW teams provided medical assistance to thousands of people injured or made ill from the event. DRNW teams also provided for field medicine expertise as physician teams ventured out to isolated communities and tent cities.
DRNW response was continued throughout 2010 with 18 medical teams deployed and thousands of Haitian citizens served.
EMPACT continues its presence today in Haiti with ongoing medical care and community development missions.