Deploying to Help | VideoRetha Colclasure | 10/30/2012
For some, it didn`t take long. One North Dakotan is already on her way.
While most people are trying to find ways to get out of disaster-stricken areas, FEMA reservists are doing all they can to get in.
They came from across the country to help during flooding in Minot and Bismarck last year. And now, North Dakota-based reservists are deploying east.
Take a former journalist, add in some carpentry school, plus some experience with Lutheran Disaster Response and you get Janell Cole.
"Sunday afternoon I got the phone call," she said.
She`s a FEMA reservist, and has been since early 2011.
"They knew it was going to affect 14 states in four FEMA regions. If you haven`t been deployed for awhile, you`re at the top of the list," she said.
Cole had last deployed in January and has worked on disaster responses in Denver; Brookings, South Dakota; and Bismarck. So when she got a call from her boss on Friday, she knew what might be coming.
"My job is to compile a report every day on the disaster that I am assigned to."
Cole will keep track of what news outlets in New York are saying about Sandy, providing a summary to FEMA officials or others who need it.
"There are some people who take over disaster offices for FEMA and they want the report on their desk by 7:00. So I might be getting up at 2:00 in the morning to start my report," she said.
She would have left on Monday to start that job, but all the flights were canceled. Now that she is able to make her way out to New York, she`s not sure when she`ll return to Bismarck. She says she finds the job satisfying and feels fortunate to be able to do the work she does.
Cole says while Lutheran Disaster Response is keeping her job open for her until she returns from deployment, they are still seeking volunteers to work through the winter at Hope Village.