AmeriCorps St. Louis' Emergency Response Team (ERT) Members have the chance to learn some incredible skills during there year of service. Here's just five of the awesome outdoor skills that our Members get equipped with when they serve with us.
1. Wildland Firefighting
Members of the ERT learn how to become wildland firefighters through a combination of an extensive online training curriculum through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and hands-on experience with our partner agencies like the United States Forest Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. As wildland firefighters, our Members can assist in prescribed burns and wildfire responses around the country! Learn more about our service in fire mitigation and response.
With conservation projects across the state of Missouri throughout the year and spring/fall projects in Montana, ERT Members get plenty of exposure to camping in the outdoors. You'll learn to pitch a tent, sleep warm in the snow, and cook delicious meals on a camp stove. Some Members come to us having never camped before... but they leave experts!
3. Leave No Trace
As ambassadors of conservation and responsible outdoor recreation, ERT Members all learn the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace in their first month of training. Not only do these principles guide our outdoor ethic and ensure that we leave wild places better than we find them, but they're also part of a key knowledge base required for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the outdoors industry.
4. Search and Rescue
The ERT Is incident-response ready. That means being ready to lead a group of spontaneous volunteers in a search and rescue operation, should the need arise. Members spend a few days training with our partner, the Illinois Search and Rescue Council, to get their General Search and Rescue (GSAR) certificates. This training exposues Members to lost person behavior, grid searching, compass navigation and map reading, and leading groups of untrained volunteers in combing terrain for evidence.
Trailbuilding is one of the coolest skills that our Members learn during their year of service on the ERT. This can include anything from learning to create drainage systems to mitigate damage to trails, use cross-cut saws to build steps, clear debris from snowmobile trails in preparation for the winter season, or work with partners to create trails where none have existed before! In Missouri, we are proud to do a lot of our trailbuilding with The Ozark Trail Association and in Montana, we serve with the US Forest Service!