On Nov. 13, 1985, the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia killed more than 23,000 people. Geoscientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., moved to action. Having studied the warning signs and responded to the eruption of Mount St. Helens five years earlier, they knew from experience that the Nevado del Ruiz disaster could have been prevented. Their advocacy paved the way for the formation of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) in 1986. VDAP is the world’s first and only international volcano response team. In the January issue of EARTH Magazine, VDAP’s growth and evolution over 30 years are chronicled, highlighting the team’s past successes and goals for the future.