The Brentwood-based disaster recovery agency Hope Force International deployed on Tuesday to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to respond to recent flood devastation.

Being described as “Katrina-level,” the rainfall in Louisiana this past Saturday has led to six deaths and more than 20,000 people rescued, many of whom were stranded along I-12 until rescue operations could be completed Sunday.

More than 10,000 residents have been placed in shelters. Flooding produced by more than 30 inches of rain in Louisiana has prompted the President and Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency.

A Hope Force advance team from Brentwood departed to coordinate and prepare to receive the Hope Force Reservists who are arriving from all across the U.S.

If you’ve ever wanted to aid others after a natural disaster strikes, Hope Force International is accepting registration for their Disaster Response Training seminar happening next month.

Hope Force has responded to disasters all over the world, including in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Haiti after the earthquake last year and in 2010, as well as home rebuilding in Appalachia. The nonprofit accepts volunteers from all skills and fields of expertise, not just construction and medical.

This year Hope Force has responded to disasters in Nepal, Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia and even Tennessee.

To work with Hope Force, volunteers have to complete the reservist training, a three-day training that focuses on the grief and trauma cycle, personal wholeness and healthy team dynamics. Hope Force stresses the importance of the relational, emotional and spiritual aspects of effectively meeting the needs of those who have suffered loss. Hope Force has more than 1,300 reservists.

The training consists of two days and two evenings of preparation for domestic service with Hope Force International. Reservists are then eligible for rapid deployment, often within 24 to 48 hours of a disaster. The training consists of live speakers, as well as teaching filmed exclusively for Hope Force.

Topics to be covered include identity in Christ for the disaster responder, foundations of emotional and spiritual care, maintaining healthy and cohesive relationships in ministry, core principles for effective ministry and how to be an appropriate caregiver, as well as self-care for the crisis responder.

When an emergency happens, the reservist system sends out a text and whoever can respond is sent out to help.

Hope Force has been a national partner with The Salvation Army since 2005, with a focus on training and volunteer deployment. They have also responded to the floods in Nashville, floods in the Midwest, tornadoes in the South, wildfires in the West and severe storms in the South. Teams also responded to the Asian Tsunami and the 2011 Joplin tornadoes.

The training program this year is taking place from Sept. 22 to 24 in Franklin. The cost is $175, which includes all training materials, meals and refreshments. To register for training, visit Registration will close three days prior to the start date.

For more information, visit

Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @samanthahearn.