Techies Behind The Scenes: Disaster Services Technology

It takes a lot of leadership, coordination and different skill sets to run a successful disaster relief operation. One of the advantages of volunteering with the Red Cross is the great training. For all the techies out there, we have disaster services technology (DST).

Within 12 hours of a disaster, a DST team is already en route. Their primary goal is to set up connectivity to support the Red Cross relief effort. By using satellite technology, the team can network the operation quickly. Once the network is completed, DST will start issuing laptops and equipment such as cell phones, printers, fax machines and radios. They can set up a 100 seat office overnight.

Here’s the secret of DST: while the team’s tool box has some very high-tech solutions in it, the implementation is actually very easy.

All the steps that DST volunteers take are fully documented in step-by-step directions and there are experienced volunteers to help guide you through it. If you enjoy technology, can follow directions and can plug wires into the port where it fits, you too can be a successful member of the Red Cross DST team. DST manager Keith Robertory regularly tells people that he can take any three people who can follow directions and setup a VSAT systems in under two hours.

All DST team members start with their local chapter. Once you become a volunteer with your local chapter, they’ll provide you with the basic disaster services training. If you express an interest in DST, you’ll get enrolled on a five-part training series called DST101. 

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