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By Tom Mattick, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, and Polly Turner, ERT Trainer

Dave Gann showing ash sifters

Dave Gann in Prescott

With the fires in the town of Bagdad, we are reminded of the fire risks associated with the drought and the devastation they can cause to properties and structures in their path. As a Conference, we want to stand ready to respond to the needs of the survivors. Dave Gann (wearing the green ERT shirt in the image to the right) and John Seifried of Prescott built 40 fire sifters as the wildfires flared across Arizona in June.

For the Early Response Teams (ERTs) to respond, we need to prepare ash sifters and fire relief buckets. The relief buckets include such items as protective suits, gloves, goggles, and masks for the survivors, as well as, practical tools like hand trowels and racks, trash bags, and tarps. The approximate cost of each relief bucket is $110.

The ERTs are requesting cash donations to purchase the necessary supplies for the buckets which will be purchased in bulk. Checks in any amount will be gladly and gratefully received. Please make the checks payable to the Desert Southwest Annual Conference with the memo of “Fire Relief Buckets.” The checks can be sent to the Desert Southwest Conference, P.O. Box 32830, Phoenix, Arizona 85064, or donate online at https://dscumc.org/secure/payments.

The Early Response Teams need fire sifters when working with survivors who lost homes in wildfires. UMCOR trains the ERTs who respond to natural disasters by clearing debris, salvaging belongings, and the survivors through this painful process. On June 21-25, Desert Southwest ERTs worked with the Salvation Army at the Disaster Center in Globe responding to the fires there. Twelve Desert Southwest Conference (DSC) ERTs will do flood response on July 17-July 24 in Louisiana, led by Tom Mattick, the DSC Disaster Response Coordinator.

If you or a team from your church are interested in volunteering as an ERT, sign up for the August 11 training now at https://dscumc.org/blog/2021/06/25/early-response-team-training-august-11-2021 or contact Tom Mattick at or Polly Turner at to schedule a training at your church. (A minimum of six participants is required to set up a local church training.) To find out more about the ERT training program visit https://dscumc.org/disaster-response-training-events.

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