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British Red Cross Disaster Response Challenge

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Published November 8th 2012


These days it is often not enough to only have a Bachelor degree or Masters. Employers want to see work experience, internships and a variety of different other experiences. I am in my second year at university, currently studying Environmental Hazard and Disaster Management.

Last year, we had a guest speaker from the British Red Cross come in and talk to us about what the Red Cross does around the world. It sounded inspirational and amazing. And by the end of the speech, the guest speaker mentioned an event.

The disaster challenge is an event that you start thinking about long before it actually happens. The requirement to participate is to raise 500 pounds through fundraisers. I did a 4km swim marathon and various car boot sales, to raise my money.

The actual event takes place during a weekend in the beginning of October. Friday afternoon, we received a text message as seen in the picture on the side. The texts said the following:

"URGENT MESSAGE FROM RED CROSS HQ: A major earthquake hit north west Bukustan at 2.34pm this afternoon. Up to 10,000 people may have been affected. We are now deploying the British Red Cross ERU [emergency rescue unit]. You must report to Bramley by 8pm for a briefing before you leave for Bukustan. Please confirm receipt of this message."

We arrived in Bramley by 8pm and were picked up at the train station by Red Cross Jeeps and that's when the event truly began.

I wont mention much more than this, except that the weekend is completely worth it. We learn about what the Red Cross does both in disaster and conflict zones. We have guest speakers come in who have been deployed to countries like Afghanistan and Haiti. We are put into scenario-based examples.

The weekend teaches you many things. You learn not only about the Red Cross, but also about what you as an individual can do. It is inspirational, encouraging you to take the extra step.

Having participated myself and found many answers to questions I couldn't answer before, I encourage people to participate. It is truly an amazing event!

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Why? A hands-on crisis management experience
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