Volunteers are important in helping people and areas pull through after an emergency. Local, state and federal government agencies simply can’t give all the resources needed to help restore families to their pre-disaster condition. Coordination between the volunteer groups is key to making sure that all needs are met and services are not repeated.
There are many ways to get involved to help your area be ready for an emergency. With proper training and education, volunteers can expand the resources available to states and local areas.
Many groups, offer free public education, outreach and training. Some of those agencies are listed here. Choose one and get involved today!
- Through Citizen Corps, individuals can learn about ways to get involved and help extend the capacity of first responders.
- Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, volunteers have basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
- Veteran opportunities are available through Veterans Active in Citizens Corps.
- The American Red Cross offers CPR , basic first aid and ways to help mass care and sheltering in your area.
- Medical Reserve Corps gives support during a public health emergency.
- Neighborhood Watch and Volunteers in Police Service help with community safety and security.
- Fire Corps volunteers support local fire departments.
- Other ways to volunteer can be found through Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
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Fire Corps uses volunteers as extra help after an emergency. This adds more people and help to fire and emergency services departments. The program U.S. Department of Homeland Security pays for the program. It is managed through a partnership between the National Volunteer Fire Council and International Association of Fire Chiefs with direction from the National Advisory Committee. Learn more by visiting the Fire Corps homepage.
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The Medical Reserve Corps program works with the skills of practicing and retired doctors, nurses and other health people as well as other people who want know about health stuff. These people help with their community’s ongoing public health needs. They also help during and after a very bad emergency. Local areas can make their own Medical Reserve Corps group to give needed public health services during a crisis. This group can aid emergency response teams with patients. They can give care to those with less serious wounds or other health-related needs. These volunteers can help with ongoing health needs such as immunizations, screenings, health and nutrition education. Learn more by visiting the Medical Reserve Corps home page.
The Volunteers in Police Service program gives people a chance to volunteer their time and skills to help local or state police departments. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs and U.S. Department of Justice manages this program. To learn more, go to the Volunteers in Police Service homepage.
The Civil Air Patrol is the volunteer support wing of the U.S. Air Force. It is called to help with getting ready for an emergency and after an emergency happens. The North Carolina wing is often called to help with search and rescues of missing people and aircraft. It also helps to look at damage after storms. Learn more about Civil Air Patrol.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) volunteers form a group of nonprofit groups that respond to emergencies. These groups share knowledge and resources before, during and after an emergency. Their goal is to better communicate, coordinate, collaborate and cooperate to better serve those hit by an emergency. National VOAD is the main contact for volunteer groups in the National Response Coordination Center (at FEMA headquarters).