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  Doug Copp Press

American Rescue Team International

This group of volunteers with members in more than 30 nations helps save lives in disasters around the world

By Doug Copp

reprinted from Self Reliance Journal, Dec. 2000, VOL. 22, NO. 12

We are very different than you expect. There is nothing usual or routine for us. Our motto is "expect the unexpected." We do.

My name is Doug Copp, I am the rescue chief of the American Rescue Team International.

At a collapsed gold mine in the Peruvian Andes, Copp watches with the Vice President of Peru, President Fujimori, members of his cabinet and Peruvian Army personnel as ARTI member Otto Lukac demonstrates ARTI technology used in rescue operations.

We are busy. Time is our most valuable commodity. At a disaster, every minute means a life and every mistake a death. We go days without sleep, and sometimes actually nap or sleep on the rubble to avoid wasting commute time.

I founded ARTI after I returned from the Mexico City earthquake in 1985. We were originally called Earthquake Preparedness and Rescue of California. For many years we were the only Americans rescuing at foreign disasters; hence other rescue teams referred to us as "The American Rescue Team."

Now we are known, around the globe, as the American Rescue Team International. Our dedication to saving lives and our humanitarian work has given us recognition as the world's most experienced rescue team.

The American Rescue Team International has 33,000 associated members in 34 countries.

We are the team you often see on TV (at foreign disasters crawling inside of collapsed buildings, saving lives).

As the rescue chief and founder of ARTI, I have worked at, almost, every major disaster, throughout the world, for the last 15 years.

ARTI saved the lives of two women after an earthquake in Kalammatta, Greece in 1986.This hole was dug out of a collapsed apartment building to rescue the women.

Our team is unique in many ways: we have worked at more major disasters than any rescue team, in the world; we are the only team to be truly international, with team members from different countries; we are the only team to make cooperative agreements with governmental and non-governmental teams; we are the only team to have politicians from different countries as team members; we are all volunteer; and we have the only equipment that is capable of locating dead victims.

We do no formal fund raising. When a disaster happens, we rally all the good people we can to get the job done. The phone lines catch on fire. It is truly amazing.

Either, we get the airline tickets donated or we pay for them ourselves. As of May, 2000, American Airlines has agreed to fly our team to disasters for free. We are still struggling to find the money to do our training and deliver relief supplies.

We all have other sources of income. I make most of my money from being paid to do television appearances or selling film footage of our team saving lives to the networks for news and documentaries.

Copp at the Oklahoma City bombing disaster. ARTI mobilized within 20 minutes of the call for help and was in flight to the scene within one hour of the explosion, according to Copp.

Disaster mitigation and saving lives are our prime directive. I consider every disaster to be like a person's signature -- different, unique and requiring a thoughtful and immediate response. A major disaster involves everyone from a shoeshine boy to the president. Everything is destroyed. Everyone is affected. Everyone has a role to play. Would you be interested in joining us?

Visit our website: http://www.amerrescue.org. Speak with me on the phone (510-523-5493). Speak with our mental health officer to determine if you have the emotional strength to be an operational team member. Start to work on a project. Eventually, find your place on the team.

During more than 100 major international emergencies and disasters, both natural and man made, we have been there. Team members have firsthand experience and knowledge of diverse phenomena; such as, earthquakes, landslides, mudslides, rock slides, explosions, tornadoes, hurricanes, firestorms, avalanches, mountain rescue, swift water rescue, wilderness rescue, plane crashes, ship sinkings, mine collapses, floods, toxic clouds, war (Kosovo), mass grave site location, and humanitarian/refugee relief.

We deliver emergency supplies, such as delivering crutches to children in Nicaragua who had their legs blown off by mines, helping with delivering "iron lungs" to native divers in Central America, collecting and donating rescue/fire equipment to third world countries, and supplying the Red Cross in many cities of Mexico with medical supplies.

ARTI members train teachers in the "triangle of life" concept, whereby people in earthquakes are taught to get next to solid objects for safety.

ARTI has worked with the Red Cross and Red Crescent in many countries. I was surprised when I found out about the American Red Cross. The Red Cross in Mexico actually rescues people. The American Red Cross only gives blankets, food and organizes shelter. They are legally prohibited by our bureaucratic system from actually rescuing people.

We have trained hundreds of organizations, throughout the world, in a vast array of disaster mitigation, disaster management and rescue recovery functions.

ARTI's rescue training is usually given by myself and is scheduled by ARTI team member Carol Camelot of Palm Desert, California (760) 469-3486 and add in cellphone number (760) 534-6278. Ms. Camelot also provides presentations giving instruction in the Triangle of Life principle. . Reference the ARTI website http://www. amerrescue.org. Contact Carol Camelot, at ccamelot@dc.rr.com, to arrange for developed nations training. Contact Doug Copp at amerrescue@aol.com to arrange for international assistance.

ARTI was sponsored by Southern Peru, a US multinational company, to train SP employees in rescue operations applicable to a number of disasters at their chemical plant.

ARTI Lifestyle -- Personally, I am a member of the Mexican Red Cross, the Rescue Chief of the National Rescue Team of Turkey, a member of the Rescue Association of the Republic of China, a member of the Fire Department of Peru, a member of the Ministry of Civil Defense of Venezuela, a member of the Russian Rescue Federation, etc.

It's quite common for ARTI members to belong to other organizations. It is very helpful to open up doors, enable cooperation and to find out what is really going on.

Many people help us. US Attorney General Janet Reno arranged for visa clearance for one of our Colombian doctors, to help in the Venezuelan floods. She enabled a one-year process to take place in a single night. President Duarte of El Salvador contacted the President of TACA Airlines to reimburse our airline tickets. Peruvian President Fugimori arranged for us to fly to Lima in his personal aircraft.

Paulina and Doug Copp delivering crutches to the Mexican Red Cross.

Most of our members are good people, who try to do their best and help their fellow human beings. Everyone is welcome: If you care and want to make a difference.

ARTI has worked with and trained militaries throughout the world, at almost every disaster. We enjoy working with the military. ARTI will train any military organization, of any kind. There is only one condition. We will train them to save lives. We will have nothing to do with killing. ARTI has been to war. We have been shot at. Our work was humanitarian and will continue to be humanitarian.

We have some team members who are also connected with FEMA. They work with us anonymously to save lives.

Should you wish to join us, ask for our help or help us, contact Doug Copp, Rescue Chief, ARTI, 563 Charlotte St, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, B1P-1E6, Canada. 1-902-567-1227.
; email: chief@amerrescue.org.

Canadian, American and Taiwanese team members at epicenter of Taiwan earthquake. As this picture was being taken a landslide was occurring in the background. This is one of 300 that occurred while ARTI members were there helping with rescue and recovery operations.
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The American Rescue Team International
PO Box 237, 236 West Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94127, USA
Tel 1-415-533-2231
Email: amerrescue@aol.com

ARTI,Available to those who support our humanitarian work and standing up to those who defamed us for revenge. ARTI endorses the triangle of life and scorn those who endanger children's lives by promoting 'duck and cover.

Doug Copp, Home address: 563 Charlote St, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, B1P-1E6, Home Phone 1-902-567-1227,Personal Email: amerrescue@aol.com,

1985 - 2005 All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or in part without the express permission of the copyright holder is strictly forbidden. Just ask!!

American Rescue Team International is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. Organized and duly constituted under the laws of the State of California since 1985. At international disasters we were called the `American Rescue Team' because we were the only Americans saving lives at foreign disasters, the name stuck!

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For any questions regarding this website please email webmaster@amerrescue.org