Volunteer FAQ

What kinds of Missions does Team Rubicon do?

Team Rubicon has two different types of missions: Reactive and Proactive.

Reactive Missions: Missions when we are “reacting” to an emergency. On these missions we have a limited amount of time to plan, assemble personnel, and gather gear. Examples of missions such as these include: Haiti, Pakistan, Chile, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri.

Proactive Missions: Missions where we are “proactively” responding to a crisis/threat. On these missions we have ample time to plan for contingencies as well as to fundraise to offset expenses. Examples of these missions include: South Sudan, Burma, Mozambique.

Within the larger framework of “Reactive vs. Proactive” there are also International Missions and Domestic Missions.

International Missions: Missions where we are responding to an International crisis, whether Reactive or Proactive. These missions are the most costly, and also the most critical to prepare a security plan. These missions tend to be medically oriented with an emphasis on emergency care and teaching indigenous personnel the necessary medical practices to ensure their continued survival.

Domestic Missions: Missions where we are responding to a Domestic crisis. These missions require little monetary support, and usually don’t necessitate a security plan (excepting the case of an ongoing disaster i.e. aftershocks, continued fire). The missions tend to be oriented towards: Low-Level Search-and-Rescue (SAR), debris removal, home repair, disaster prep (i.e sandbagging, fire preparation). Medical oversight law regulates our ability to provide definitive medical care in this setting, but does not preclude us from offering emergency care.

Who goes on missions?

Team Rubicon deploys personnel from our pool of volunteers. Since Missions can be either International OR Domestic there is different criteria for choosing who deploys on which mission.

International Volunteers: These personnel are primarily chosen based on their medical skill set and previous experience. Volunteers are also evaluated on their military experience, language skills, performance on previous missions, and likely availability. The decision to “alert” a volunteer is taken seriously and only those who have been contacted by Team Rubicon Staff are in contention for a spot on the mission.

Domestic Volunteers: These personnel are chosen based on their availability, proximity to the disaster, experience, and their compliance with the Team Rubicon training curriculum.

What do Team Members do on missions?

Team Rubicon Members fulfill a host of duties when deployed, to include: search and rescue, medical care (based on disaster location), debris removal, command and control support with other agencies, logistical assistance, home repair, other tasks as directed by the incident commander.

Where do the teams deploy to?

Anywhere that our teams can safely operate. The TR Headquarters (TRHQ) element will make this determination prior to deploying teams to a given area.

When do teams deploy?

Team Rubicon teams deploy on Reactive and Proactive Missions. Consequently, the deployment calendar is often hard to predict. Proactive missions are planned months in advance following the template within the Volunteer Packet marked “Proactive Mission Packet”. Reactive Missions are spontaneous and as a result deployment happens rather quickly.

Who pays for the missions?

Reactive missions are sustained by private and corporate donors that believe in our mission and desire to support veterans. Proactive missions require a proposal process and individual fundraising by members of the mission.  After a mission is prepared  Team Rubicon will pay for all the components of the trip including: airfare, food, lodging, and supplies.  Any money spent on mission-related expenses by team members is reimbursed to them when they return through a standard travel voucher form.  Team Rubicon is committed to making sure our volunteers do not spend their own money during a mission.

Where do we get gear from? (personal and our “team gear”)

There are two different types of gear brought on each mission: Personal gear and Team gear. Personal Gear is purchased and owned by the individual. If it is destroyed while on mission every effort will be made to replace the gear to the individual. Team gear is stored and maintained by the regional and local coordinators and will deployed with the team then returned to storage.

I’m not a veteran or a medical professional…how can I volunteer for Team Rubicon?

While Team Rubicon responds to natural disasters in the US and around the world, disasters are not all that we do. Throughout the year Team Rubicon conducts community service projects, fundraisers, and outreach to potential supporters and donors. These are a few examples where TR can utilize the expertise of the following skills: event organizers, fundraisers, training specialists, graphic designers, photographers, video editing specialists, and administrative specialists.

Our Guiding Principles:

Think you have what it takes?

Interested in volunteering with Team Rubicon? Head to our Volunteer page to learn more.

What's with the name?

Simple. "Team" emphasizes the organization's military ethos of small, cohesive units. "Rubicon" refers to the river in northeastern Italy, that divided the Roman Republic from Gaul. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the head of his legions and marched on Rome, it marked a point of no return. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has since survived in reference to any group committing itself to a risky course of action. On January 17th, 2010, despite government and large aid organization's advice not to proceed, Team Rubicon members crossed the Artibonite River separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial gear and medical supplies to the people of Port-au-Prince. Once across, they were irrevocably committed to their task. Hence the name: Team Rubicon

What's with the logo?

The Team Rubicon logo consists primarily of a cross turned on its side with a river flowing through it. The cross represents the traditional symbol of medical aid. It is on its side because Team Rubicon represents such a departure from the current paradigm in disaster response. The river flowing through the cross represents the "Gap" that exists between large natural disasters and conventional aid response. Team Rubicon serves to "Bridge" this gap; providing field triage and relief operations until large aid organizations and nations can provide definitive care.

What's with the slogan?

"Bridge the Gap" refers to Team Rubicon's primary mission of providing disaster relief between the moment a disaster happens and the point at which conventional aid organizations respond. The "gap" is primarily time; the crucial window following a disaster when victims have traditionally been without outside aid. When the "Gap" closes - once conventional aid organizations arrive - Team Rubicon moves on.