My first day watching the tarping team putting on tarps filled me with anxiety and fear: fear that these unselfish, caring individuals were placing themselves in great peril in order to serve and protect their fellow brethren. Something had to be done.
Being a professional rock and ice climber, I had the team and volunteers learn a couple of safety knots, taught them to don a climbing harness correctly, and showed them the principles of belaying (saving a falling person from falling to their death using specialized safety equipment). Everyone had a chance to practice, although I focused on teaching experienced folks with a construction or contracting background. Setting up a simple color-coding system of: Green—experienced, Yellow—some experience, and Red—no experience, with everyone responsible for the safety and care of people below them, the likelihood of anyone getting injured or worse was drastically reduced. This orientation and training is now a prerequisite before commencing any construction missions.