By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Disaster Response Team will conduct a training seminar Aug. 23 in Quincy.
The 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. session will be at the Lutheran Church of St. John, 3340 State. All local Lutheran Church Missouri Synod members are invited.
Participants will be certified in disaster response. The certification is approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Stephen Born, the regional coordinator for the response team, said the organization is attempting to build a network of volunteers across central Illinois.
"Right now, we have about 300 members," said Born, who lives in Springfield and oversees 51 counties.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod disaster response program also has chapters in the northern (Chicago) and southern (Granite City) parts of the state.
Born began building the central Illinois network about a year ago, and is hoping to establish numerous pockets of response teams to be available at the time of a major calamity, such as when the tornado struck Washington on Nov. 17. That was the first major effort of the central Illinois unit.
"We arrived four hours after (the tornado struck), and were there for six months," Born said. "We are there for the long haul."
Born said a wide variety of topics will be covered at the seminar.
"We will be discussing what to say to survivors, debris clean-up, proper attire, chainsaw applications, notifications of deployments, chain of commands, and many more subjects related to disasters," Born said. "We respond to natural (tornadoes, floods, ice storms) and man-made (bombings, school shootings) disasters.
"We are not first responders, but come in after them to assist. Being certified by FEMA allows our organization to come in right after (a disaster strikes)."
Born said there are 13,000 Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Disaster response team volunteers nationwide.
Born said following the Aug. 23 date in Quincy, there will be seminars in Coal Valley (Sept. 27) and Champaign (Oct. 4) in an effort to build numbers and further strengthen the fledgling central Illinois network.