Volunteers are inherently valuable and, when properly coordinated, make up an essential part of the human resources needed to respond to disasters of all magnitudes. In times of disaster, people are drawn to help their neighbors physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Volunteers’ skills are best utilized and are most effective when they volunteer as part of an established organization trained in disaster response activities. Some volunteers are Affiliated, attached to a recognized voluntary or nonprofit organization and are trained for specific disaster response activities. Their relationship with the organization precedes the immediate disaster, and they are invited by that organization to become involved in a particular aspect of emergency management. Some are Unaffiliated, offering to help or self-deploy to assist without fully coordinating their activities. Convergent volunteers include individuals that may have a distinguishable identity, organizational structure and a collective desire to assist. These groups do not have an affiliation.
Since volunteers come with many different skills, it is important for the Volunteers Committee to place volunteers in roles to fit their abilities. Those skills and abilities may include but are not limited to, debris removal, cleaning out homes, repairing/rebuilding homes, case management, program leadership, office skills as well as professional services such as legal advice, accounting, and computer expertise.
In addition to enlisting, registering, and coordinating volunteers, the Volunteer Committee is responsible for hosting volunteers from outside our two counties, which can include arranging for the following accommodations:
showers and personal hygiene needs
Working closely with the volunteers, disaster survivors, and agencies/donors, the task of the Volunteers Committee is to utilize volunteer help where it will address the greatest need. This will require close collaboration between the Volunteers Committee, Case Management Committee, and Construction Committee.
The Volunteer Committee will oversee a number of functions, which may include: communicating with volunteers, accommodations, orientations, debriefings, recognition, and evaluations.
National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters
Long Term Recovery Guide