Volunteers are the heart and soul of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief. Every level of Disaster Relief ministry utilizes the skills, talents, and commitment of volunteers. Volunteers assist the director in providing organizational leadership, conducting training classes, supervising response sites, administering the disaster operations center, and most importantly providing the front-line ministry of disaster relief.
The successful Disaster Relief volunteer prepares for his/her assignment, mentally, physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually. First and foremost, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is a ministry of sharing Christ in crisis. The volunteer represents his/her church and their Lord in all that they do. Volunteer service requires Christian humility on the part of every volunteer. The work is not glamorous. Temperatures are often in the extreme. The work is dirty, smelly and often repulsive. Accommodations are usually rough, sleeping on the floor with little or no privacy. Through all of this the volunteer must recognize that his/her individual needs become secondary to the ministry and to the larger group of disaster relief volunteers.
For these reasons and others, certain criteria have been established that volunteers must meet prior to participating in a Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief response.
Because of agreements with National agencies and organizations, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, has the following requirements for volunteers.
- Must be a member of a cooperating Tennessee Southern Baptist Church.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Must have satisfactorily completed the training course, “Introduction to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief” and specialized training.
- Must complete an application and be approved for service.
- Must have a servant heart.
- Must be ready to show Christ’s love in action
- Must be flexible.
- Must be trained by TBC-certified instructors.
- Certain units may require criminal background checks (e.g. Childcare unit).
- Certain responsibilities may require background checks, motor vehicle checks and special licensing requirements. (e.g. driver for any state equipment)
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers agree to carry out the following responsibilities:
- Complete a disaster relief skill checklist, and keep current my (1) address and phone number, (2) availability status, (3) skills and abilities.
- Complete the required training and renew required training a minimum of every three years; take optional training, which will increase my usefulness as a team member.
- Take responsibility for my spiritual and mental preparation as a Disaster Relief volunteer, as well as my work skills needed at the disaster site.
- Represent my Lord and Savior, church, fellow Christians and team as Christ would want, in my attitude, behavior, speech, dress and work.
- Wear official disaster relief apparel and display the SBC Disaster Relief logo only as prescribed and only while engaging in a relief event.
- Protect my health and safety and the health and safety of victims, co-workers and all other persons while en route to or from and while at the disaster site; inform on-site team leaders of any physical limitations to be considered in my work assignments.
- Inform my team leader of my availability during a disaster response.
- Take initiative in order to improve my usefulness; increase my availability by making adjustments in my other responsibilities in order to serve as a disaster relief volunteer.
- Pay my own expenses, arrange my own transportation and bring clothing, bedding and personal items I will need at the disaster site.
- Purchase accident and liability insurance and provide insurance and health information to appropriate persons at the disaster site.
- Assist with unit preparation, training events and non-emergency use of the unit, as my availability and ability allow.
- If employed, discuss your situation with your employer. Be sure your absence for disaster response is fully approved. Do not jeopardize your employment.
- Look over the “What to Take” checklist and have on hand basic items. Add any items that you know you might need for health, safety, comfort, and efficiency.
- Keep insurance information with your disaster relief information and gear.
- Make arrangements with family, church, civic clubs, et cetera, for someone to “cover” for you.
- Keep phone number for the Tennessee Disaster Operations Center (615-371-2007 or 888-246-3576) where you can find it. Use only this number to communicate with the state DR organization.
- Make suggestions, ask questions, and participate.
Volunteer Code of Conduct:
- You represent your church; therefore, your attitudes and actions should reflect the teachings of Christ and values of your church.
- You should be sensitive to people especially the victims you serve. As a caring person, take time to listen with an understanding heart and a mind on what they say.
- You have made a commitment to assist disaster-affected persons within your abilities and limits; honor your commitment as unto Christ.
- You are putting your faith into action and, therefore, sharing the gospel. This is not a time to engage in spiritual exploitation. By answering “Why are you here?” you share your faith.
- You respect other people’s possessions, especially the possessions of the disaster victims, and are careful to assist in salvage and are helpful in replacing some of their losses.
- You are sensitive to persons’ feelings when taking pictures of victims or property and obtain permission first.
- You do not accept cash from anyone you are assisting. (This is a sensitive issue, which may at times need to be referred to a pastor or other person familiar with local attitudes.)
- You respect confidential information and privacy of disaster victims, such as names, financial matters, et cetera. Sharing your experience in a general way to illustrate the ministry is acceptable and recommended.
What Do I Pack?
(The following list should be used by the volunteer to plan for a routine type response. For certain disasters, additional items may be needed. Some disasters may also require special inoculations.)
Download a Printable Version of the List
Bible and devotional
Hope in Crisis tracts
Spiritual Preparation for Disaster Relief
Disaster Relief ID
Phone numbers (family physician, employer, church, emergency contact)
Health Insurance card
Automobile insurance card
Clothing (4-7 days supply)
Disaster Relief hat/visor/T-shirts/jacket
Bandannas and handkerchiefs
Coats and/or jackets (warm and cool weather, waterproof)
Jeans or work pants
One-piece bathing suit (in case there are no showers)
Rainsuit or poncho
Shirts (both for warm and cool weather )
Shorts, moderate (not more than 3" above the knee )
Sleepwear (because of group living arrangements, select sleepwear for modesty and comfort )
Socks, two pairs/day (white, wool, or wool blend)
Suitcase or duffel bag
Health, Safety and Hygiene
Allergy kit (bees, etc.)
Anti-fungal ointment/ spray
Poison ivy treatment
Liquid antibacterial soap
Sun block (SPF 15+)
Special dietary needs
Supplies and Equipment
Flashlight or lantern
Watch or clock
Canteen or water bottle
Bedding (air or foam mattress, cot, sheets or sleeping bag)
Tent (optional, inquire first)
Cash or traveler’s checks ($50-$200)
Notebook and pencils or pens
Special personal items you need for health, safety or comfort
Disaster Relief Static Cling Sign Guidelines
The following guidelines govern the distribution and use of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief static cling window signs. These guidelines are part of measures taken to reduce the security risk and misuse of the Disaster Relief logo.
Vehicles that can use the signs are:
- Association / Church or State Vehicles pulling units and equipment (These can be personal vehicles assigned by the State Disaster Relief Director.)
- Assessment / Advance team vehicles
- State convention vehicles
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers can use the rear view mirror hangers, which will be provided by the state convention.
Additional static cling window signs will be kept in the command unit to use on vehicles that need them to enter restricted / limited access areas. These signs will need to be returned to the command unit when finished.
Suggestion: Place the static cling sign under your rearview mirror on the front windshield so the officials can see it as you are driving in to the disaster area
State Disaster Relief Director
Disaster Relief Uniform Guidelines
The official Disaster Relief logo is a copyrighted logo of the North American Mission Board. Only items ordered through the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief office are acceptable.
Download Printable List of Disaster Relief Apparel
The basic uniform for SBC disaster relief recognized volunteers consists of two items, which bear the official SBC disaster relief logo:
- photo identification badge
- baseball-type yellow/gold with logo cap
The full uniform consists of badge, cap, windbreaker, and shirt. Jacket and shirt are optional. These items may bear the name of the participating state, but it is not required.
Colors — Basic colors for disaster relief uniforms are blue and yellow / gold.
Caps —The following cap colors and styles are approved for wear at disaster sites:
a. Yellow (baseball style with logo)—volunteers with minimum required training
b. Blue—unit director
c. White—national and state disaster relief directors; on-site and off-site directors
Windbreakers —Yellow/gold jackets with large logo and state name (optional) on back; small logo and state (optional) on left breast; name tag on left breast under logo or photo ID clipped to collar.
Shirts or blouses — Blue or yellow shirts with collars or yellow T-shirts are acceptable, with logos and state names positioned same as windbreakers or coveralls. Collared shirts may be buttoned down the front or golf / polo style, long or short sleeved. Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief T-shirts are royal blue with yellow print. ALL CLOTHING MUST BE PURCHASED AND/OR APPROVED THROUGH THE STATE OFFICE AT 615-371-7927 or email@example.com.
Pants — Jeans, slacks, or moderate shorts (not more than 3” above the knee) are acceptable. Use caution in selecting optional apparel concerning comfort, safety, and exposure to sun, cold, dampness, et cetera.
Return to Disaster Relief Home