UUTRM requires each responder to sign a (4 page) Code of Conduct as part of the (28 page) Volunteer Handbook. A process for progressive discipline for responders who violate the Code of Conduct is outlined in the handbook. The UUTRM Code of Conduct follows guidelines and best practices for working within the context of disasters and critical incidents. For those of us who are UU ministers and who are responders with the UU Trauma Response Ministry team, we uphold the standards of both covenants.
All members of the UUTRM team are required to take the same basic training. Current training requirements are:
Many of us have specialties (psychiatric nurses, military, board certified chaplains, clinical social workers, etc.) that demand in-depth education and certifications. Regardless of the level of specialized education, UUTRM’s requisite training matrix ensures uniformity in minimum training standards and gives us a basis for common language from which to work. The team has both a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience from which to draw upon.
The UUTRM team has a unique ministry as that of UUs supporting UUs in times of crisis. The process of becoming a team member includes submitting a written application and letters of reference, a national criminal background check and a vote by the board of trustees.
Ideal candidates for team membership are flexible and team players. Being able to fall into a chain of command—when you are not at the top of the chain—and follow orders is mandatory. Divas and lone wolves need not apply. Responders need to have a fairly high tolerance for ambiguity and change as well as a good personal self-care regimen.
There are times UUTRM sends responders on site for deployments; it is therefore imperative that responders’ workplaces and families have the ability to be flexible as well. This ministry requires specific training in the modalities used by UUTRM and other criticial incident responders so that we can work together across individual specializations and with other groups in larger response settings.