• August 24, 2016

CBU Hosts Sphere Training For Disaster Relief

Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2014) – Thirty-four participants attended Sphere Project training, hosted by California Baptist University's School of Nursing Oct. 20-24. It is the second year the training has been offered.

The Sphere Project was begun in 1997 by a group of humanitarian agencies to improve the quality of disaster response. The training program teaches the minimum standards that need to be met in order to deal with humanitarian issues after a disaster.

"What the Sphere standards were set up to do is provide a consistent minimum standard across the world in emergency response situations," said Francis K. Horton III, a Sphere trainer and area director for Baptist Global Response (BGR). "There was a need among international organizations that normally, regularly respond to emergency situations to standardize things so that, No. 1, we're all speaking the same language, No. 2, that we're all providing the same kinds of relief and No. 3, so that the people who are in need are more likely to get what they need."

Participants who completed the course included health workers and 29 CBU students. Horton and Ben Wolf, another area director for BGR, were the trainers.

Participants worked through the Sphere Project handbook, which covers the minimum standards for four areas: water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and nutrition; shelter and health. Exercises included setting up a refugee camp and creating a plan for how to respond to a certain situation.

Silvia Bolanos, a senior nursing major, took the training last year and again this year. Her dream is to work in the states for nine months a year and go on short-term missions for three.

"A lot of ideas have clicked, [but now] the ideas are more solidified," she said. "I am able to create plans now so I have a better idea of how to respond to a disaster if it happened."

The training also exposes students to the global aspect of the Great Commission, said Stacey Toro, assistant professor of nursing and coordinator for the project.

"There are many places that disasters occur and things happen in closed countries where people usually can't get in, but health workers and emergency providers and disaster relief workers can," she said. "We put on this training because we want to promote the Great Commission, a biblical world view, and give another aspect to our students who want to do that."

Jamila Davison, an emergency room doctor from Tampa, Fla., also attended the training.

 "I've learned how these disasters can open up doors for so much, (both) immediately and then long term," she said. "It would be great to not only meet people's physical needs but also their spiritual needs."

Jessica Rosas and Monica Quintanilla, both third-year nursing majors, participated in the training to prepare for a possible mission trip.

"We learned a lot about how to work with people of different cultures and how to involve them in their own care," Quintanilla said. "Our goal would be to help them keep their dignity as opposed to just providing for them and them becoming dependent."