A tiny spark can trigger a mighty flame
The author, Marishelle (middle), with DRT-AP volunteers from Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Australia on the roof of the Firefighting Drill Building of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
I'm very pleased to be a member of DRT Asia Pacific, one of DHL's global disaster response teams, because it's a way for me to give something back to society. In the bible it says "many are called but few are chosen." I think about that a lot and it's one of the reasons why when my application to join the team two years ago was accepted, I made up my mind to commit to this team and invest the time and effort needed to make a difference. One doesn't often get a chance to help in a humanitarian effort, so it's not something to be taken lightly.
Over the past two years I've completed two DRT training sessions in Singapore. Both were a lot of fun, but they were also very hard work. They were an invaluable learning experience. Each day was filled from morning until night - everything from setting up camp to attending classroom lectures to mock deployment exercises where we got up in the wee hours of the morning to manage incoming shipments from flights that had just arrived. It's an experience one doesn't easily forget. Luckily I've worked night shifts in the past and can function on little sleep.
After a natural disaster strikes, DRTs deploy to the area's airport to use our skills as logistics experts.
One thing I'll never forget was the surprise visit to our makeshift warehouse by one of our U.N. colleagues, who acted as though he could speak only Spanish. My teammates stood silently as they didn't understand him or know what he wanted. To his surprise and that of my teammates, I was able to converse with him because one of my responsibilities back in the office is Spanish support for the Americas region. During the assessment after the exercise, the U.N. representative stressed the important role language plays in communication during deployments and gave our team some extra points for that.
DRTs play a very strategic role in DPDHL's GoHelp program. DRTs represent a clear-cut example of how our group is "Living Responsibility" and help strengthen our reputation as a global company. Our DRT slogan is "We Deliver Help." This simple sentence is inspiring and uplifting to us volunteers. Those three little words express exactly what we do on the ground at each deployment. We ensure that the incoming relief supplies are delivered as quickly as possible to people in need.
After a natural disaster strikes, DRTs deploy to the area's airport to use our skills as logistics experts to provide efficient logistics, warehousing, inventory and management of the goods and donations so that they can be quickly delivered to the affected communities. We work closely with the U.N. and play a very important role in the overall success of these humanitarian missions.
"I would encourage anyone to join a DRT as I believe it is a chance to fulfill a passion to help and an opportunity to selflessly give back to society in our own little way."- Marishelle Arnaldo Guinto
Extremely well-organized training
DRT volunteers like me benefit from some of the best disaster response trainers in the business. They deliver extremely well-organized training programs that test you both physically and mentally and teach valuable lessons about good leadership. On top of that we were given the opportunity to be certified by the Singapore Civil Defence Force for Disaster Response Training, which included first aid, firefighting and rescue skills along with intense physical drills and tests. I really walked away feeling prepared for an actual deployment.
What I have also enjoyed so far in my DRT training is the open exchange of ideas from the various cultural backgrounds represented as well as a constant focus on continuous improvement. The trainers are always asking for our feedback, too. That's really gratifying. I would encourage anyone to join a DRT as I believe it is a chance to fulfill a passion to help and an opportunity to selflessly give back to society in our own little way. Every little bit counts, so even if you only contribute in a small way, just remember this: "A tiny spark can trigger a mighty flame." (Dante Alighieri)
A report by Marishelle Arnaldo Guinto, Senior Service Desk Analyst at DHL in Malaysia.