My First Disaster

by William Cretinon The first week was rough. The worst part of it all was walking into a command system that had already been created. This was very difficult especially for me. Especially since my job didn’t even have a title yet. I had always pictured a disaster deployment to be spent canvassing and mucking and gutting or making endless phone calls. This disaster was different than all the other ones I had heard of. It wasn’t the endless chaos I had gotten prepared for. My personal work seemed like utter chaos. Everything changed on that Friday though. Everybody that had been doing my job prior left and it was just me. I had become the trainer for the new folks coming in. That’s when I decided to revamp the system that I had come into, make it even more organized. I spent the next four weeks doing the same tasks and combing through my database over and over and over. What I was doing was crucial to our operation. But t was hard to feel like I was making a difference sitting behind my makeshift desk. However, the third week I was able to go on home assessments, and that’s when my “slump” changed. Just visiting one home for 20 minutes changed the way I felt when I was back at work the next day. For each home on my database I picture a flood survivor and their difficulties, their personal details. I was the one of the phone keeping track of all their information. I was the one sending help to their doorstep. That was A-DRT dispatch! The best first disaster position ever! That assessment gave me the disaster bug and I cannot wait for my next one.