NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- New York and New Jersey homeowners impacted by Hurricane Sandy are finding help in protecting their homes from ongoing mold and flood damage through training provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
Approximately 200 people have attended seven mold and flood recovery training sessions throughout the metro area this month.
The two-hour training is a much-condensed version of training provided to SBDR volunteers who participate in recovery trips nationwide, developed in 2005 to help Hurricane Katrina survivors.
"The driving reason to do this," said Randy Creamer, who has led five of the training sessions, are "the health issues, very serious respiratory issues, that'll crop up in the coming weeks and months if you don't get the moisture out of the house."
The training helps homeowners understand the health risks in mold-infected homes and how to safely mud-out, sanitize and disinfect their homes. Homeowners also learn to be on the lookout for hazardous materials, sharp objects, unstable structures, power lines and other dangers as they mud-out their homes. And they are always encouraged to work in pairs.
For local pastors, the training has given them one more opportunity to show the community the love of Jesus through Southern Baptists. Church planter Nathan Tubbs hosted training for about 12 people at his church plant, Cornerstone Church at Bay Bridge in Brooklyn, in early November. Besides training some of his church members, the training also helped to prepare a volunteer team that was in the area helping his church. Tubbs added that he has been able to pass on the lessons to friends and co-workers in the community.
"It showed people we were prepared," said Tubbs, who also a North American Mission Board missionary. "That's a big thing for people going through what they're going through here. It says a lot about how much we care. We care enough that we're willing to prepare. I think that's big because we're not just here flippantly, but we're doing things safely and accurately -- so people know when we mud-out homes, they won't be dealing with mold six months later."
The training also has been an opportunity for churches to minister to unchurched people in their communities. When Graffiti Church in Manhattan hosted a training session on Nov. 5, Creamer said 85 of the 100-plus people who attended the training had never been inside of that church.
"Many homeowners want to clean their homes themselves, but they have a fear of 'Am I doing it right?'" said Fritz Wilson, the North American Mission Board's executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. "By offering this training based on our many years of experience, we can go in and help them understand how to do it safely."
If a pastor in New Jersey or New York would like to bring the flood recovery training to his church, e-mail SBDR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tobin Perry writes for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress
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