Join the Emergency Response Team
POSITION BEGINS SEPTEMBER 2019
Change your world, change your life! Spend a year assisting disaster-affected communities, fighting wildfires, and conserving natural resources with a team of passionate people committed to making a real difference.
The AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT) is making real advances in both disaster response and environmental stewardship. The ERT is a multi-functional rapid deployment group that has been called out nationally to floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, search and rescue, ice storms, and terrorist attacks. When not involved in disaster response, the ERT assists the Missouri Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, and local Missouri organizations with trail building and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, prescribed burning, and other natural resource projects.
ERT Members must be in good physical condition for the duration of the term and have the ability to function as supportive and dependable teammates, even in times of extreme stress and adversity. A love for the outdoors and traveling is desired as ERT Members spend most of their service out of town, living communally in rustic conditions. On any given day, an AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team Member could:
Provide immediate and long-term relief in areas affected by natural disasters
Restore Missouri forests, river-ways, and recreation areas
Build and maintain trails, bridges, cave gates and more
Fight wildland fires or participate in prescribed burns in Missouri or Western States
Conduct disaster response and preparedness trainings for communities and other national service organizations
All ERT Corps Members will receive an intensive orientation including: team building and leadership skills, introduction to disaster services, chainsaw and other power equipment operations, supporting people in crisis, risk management approaches, Incident Command System, emergency communications, and basic emergency medical care.
APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED ON A ROLLING BASIS
ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?
Note: Both references must be submitted for your application to be considered.
How Members Grow
Members typically serve on teams of 4-6 while out on project. Teams change throughout the year and, at some point, every Member will serve with someone they don't see eye-to-eye with. Additionally, the intensity of disaster, the exhaustion of fire response, or the endlessness of invasive species can wear down ever the sturdiest Member over time. Learning to live and work with a variety of personalities in diverse settings is extremely valuable. Members learn to communicate and collaborate with one another. And at the end of the year, Members consistently report that the relationships they made with each other are one of the greatest takeaways from their year.
One of the most important qualities that our Members must employ is flexibility. "It depends" is a running joke around AmeriCorps St. Louis because it's the answer to most questions. Members find themselves adapting to anything from a rained out project to a longer than expected deployment. Sometimes, we're asked to help out with tasks we have no idea how to accomplish; sometimes, we show up ready to cut invasive trees out of a prairie only to end up washing and pinning bees for pollinator research! AmeriCorps St. Louis' motto is, "See the need, meet the need." Members must be adaptable and ready to meet the need, even if it's different than anticipated. This is one of the qualities of our Corps that makes us excellent in emergency response. The partners and communities the Members serve with know that they can count on AmeriCorps St. Louis to take on any challenge.
Members can expect to experience stressful situations during their service term. They may have to make an important team safety decision when a lightning storm hits while hiking out to a project site. They may be one of the first to arrive in a chaotic disaster scenario. They may even face the challenge of solving a conflict within their own team. Members are put to the test in many ways, but they come prepared with the skills they need to approach difficulties.
All Members are certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED. Members are trained as wildland firefighters through online courses and in-house practices. Members complete training in FEMA's National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command Structure (ICS). Many Members come to us with prior experience in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), as Wilderness First Responders (WFR), as EMTs, and Wilderness EMTs, and they are happy to share insights and tips with their teammates.
Leadership opportunities abound during the service year with AmeriCorps St. Louis. Members are selected because they have qualities that will make them great leaders, and ERT allows those qualities to shine. Whatever a Member's leadership style may be, the opportunity to flex and grow is guaranteed. During the year, each Member serves as a TLIT (Team Leader in Training) and many go on to become TLs (Team Leaders) on conservation projects, leading teams of their peers.
We highly encourage Members to consider staying for a second (or third!) service term. Second year Members usually serve as Team Leaders on conservation and disaster deployments. They are given a huge amount of responsibility and leadership experience and the organization relies on them to teach and lead first year Members out in the field every day.
AmeriCorps St. Louis' mission is to provide assistance to the least served, last served, and never served. In times of disaster, our relief and recovery efforts focus on empowering communities to help their most vulnerable citizens: the elderly, the disabled, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Our Members learn how disasters reinforce social problems and stratification.
On disaster deployments, Members meet and connect with survivors from every background and life experience. Every survivor's story is different, and AmeriCorps St. Louis provides compassionate service to each individual regardless of that survivors' background. Members also learn to collaborate with volunteers, other AmeriCorps volunteers, and community leaders from different walks of life.
Whether it's in the Missouri Ozarks treating invasive plant species to protect threatened habitats, on fire rotation working with the U.S. Forest Service to respond to wildfires to ensure public safety, or at a damaged home helping disaster survivors salvage personal belongings, Members demonstrate the power of service throughout their time with us.
Our Members may not all go on to work in the fields of disaster, conservation, or fire, but they take with them the importance of service to a cause greater than themselves. We believe and hope our Members will be ambassadors for volunteerism within whichever community they live and inspire others to give back.
FULL TIME MEMBER BENEFITS
As an AmeriCorps Member, you will receive a wealth of benefits. Perhaps the biggest benefit you will experience when you join AmeriCorps is the satisfaction of incorporating service into your life and making a difference in your community and your country. Whether you are rebuilding homes, clearing trails or responding to a natural disaster, you will see the direct results of your work.
But there is more. As an AmeriCorps member, you'll be eligible for a variety of benefits that make the dedication of a year of your life worthwhile.
You Will Be Able to Pay Your Bills
ERT Members receive a modest living allowance. You won’t get rich from it, but most Members find that it covers their basic expenses. The cost of living in St. Louis is relatively low for a city.
Help with College Costs and Student Loans
Each AmeriCorps Member who successfully completes a term of service receives a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. You can use your Award to pay educational expenses at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans. You have up to seven (7) years after your term of service has ended to claim the award.
* If you successfully complete a term of service in AmeriCorps VISTA, you are eligible to receive either a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or an end-of-service stipend.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 created two new federal programs: a new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR) for the repayment of federal loans. The new Income-Based Repayment plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an AmeriCorps member living on a stipend; AmeriCorps service is also recognized as equivalent to a public service job for the purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
As an AmeriCorps member, you will gain valuable skills that translates directly into job experience in your chosen field. You will learn teamwork, communication, responsibility, and other essential skills that will help you for life. Many find that their AmeriCorps year provides them with more experience and skills than they would have gotten in a traditional job.
For full-time AmeriCorps Members, a small living allowance is provided to defray the cost of living and is dispensed at the end of each month. The education award is a voucher received upon successful completion of a Member's term of service and can be used either to repay student loans or for future educational expenses. Members can serve up to 4 terms, but will only receive an education award for 2 terms.
How do I receive my living allowance?
Upon your successful completion of the pre-service training, you will receive a partial month’s living allowance. Thereafter, living allowances are distributed the second to last business day of each month. All paperwork must be submitted in order to receive your monthly living allowance.
What’s the Corps' atmosphere?
Our wide range of Members make everyday that we are together an exciting experience. Members live and serve together during the week. On days off, Members frequently go out to see a movie, go to a concert, play Frisbee in the park, or plan a weekend camping trip. If you’re interested, you can always find something to do. Many Members also reduce living expenses by sharing housing.
Where will I live?
Members are responsible for finding and securing their own housing. Many ERT Members share apartments in the Soulard, Tower Grove, and Benton Park Neighborhoods. You can coordinate with other Members via Facebook groups once you are accepted into the program.
Do I need my own transportation?
It is not necessary to have your own transportation, but it does makes life easier. We have program vehicles that teams will use when while serving. It is only on your days off that you could need your own transportation. St. Louis has a train (MetroLink) that runs through a few locations within the city and the county. Many of our Members also get around by bike.
Are Team trips paid for by the program (food, lodging, etc.)?
The program pays for trips, including food and lodging. At times, it may be necessary to bring a sack lunch for the road or a little money for personal snacks.
Do I get time off?
You will have minimal time to use in the event that you are sick or have a family or personal responsibility to attend to during your term of service. This will be explained in more detail in training. Unlike a job, you do not earn time off, but rather accumulate hours.
Do I get holidays off? Which ones?
Members do not serve over the Christmas holiday (about a 1 week break), Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and 4th of July. These off days are built into your service, so you do not have to worry about being short hours upon completion of your term.
How do I know if I qualify for childcare?
Childcare is based on income qualifications; please contact our office for a guideline sheet