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Disaster Response

Volunteering in response to natural disasters. Often called "spontaneous volunteering."

Habit of the Heart: Volunteering in Disasters
(poses important questions about the usefulness of volunteers unless managed well)
Helper Triage: Volunteer Management in Emergencies, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2007
Is Volunteer Fire Service Prepared for Disaster?
opinion piece published one month after Great Hanshin Earthquake hit Japan in 1995
Moving on from 2001, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2002
The Perfect Volunteer Storm, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2012
The Silver Lining of Disaster, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2005
Top 15 Things to Know When Managing Volunteers in Times of Disaster, Intended for agencies that do not typically handle volunteer management activities, but that may find themselves in such a situation in response to a disaster. (from HandsOn Network).
A Volunteerism Perspective on the Days after the 11th of September, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2001
By Jill Saito, pp. 12
Best Practices Manual Based on Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, from Volunteers of America New Orleans , 2009, pp. 59
By the Society for Community Research and Action , 2010, pp. 104
A study of recruitment by international relief and development organisations in the UK, by International Health Exchange and People in Aid , 1997, pp. 8

For Disaster Response Volunteers, First Responders and Disaster Planners, by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD). Also see VOAD's "Disaster Spiritual Care," a statement of principles about spiritual and emotional support of disaster workers. 

, 2013, pp. 64
By Deborah Burr Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute Class V , pp. 24
By FEMA and the Points of Light Foundation, and its follow-up report, Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster.
Detailed manual from The Points of Light Foundation and The Allstate Foundation providing the necessary guidance for Volunteer Centers and local voluntary agencies to develop and coordinate a disaster preparedness and response program that is tailored to the specific needs, capabilities, and desires of their local community. , 1999
Action by Churches Together (ACT) International

A global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. Site offers various guides and links.

Citizen Corps Councils

Information on starting a local Citizen Corps Council to prepare for emergencies, with details about working groups around the country. Part of the USA Freedom Corps.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program

CERT educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them to organize locally.

Disaster Center - Relief Agencies

Comprehensive listing of dozens of nonprofit and faith-based organizations engaged in disaster relief, with descriptions and links.

Disaster News Network (DNN)

Disaster News Network is a news service that tells the story of disaster response and suggests appropriate ways the public can help survivors. It also facilitates information sharing among disaster responders.

Good & Ready

Site designed to help families prepare themselves for disasters and participate in volunteer response projects. Coordinated by Points of Light.

Help in Disaster

American site designed to register and affiliate volunteers prior to a disaster (in the USA) so that organizations within the disaster area can outreach to volunteers by their skills and availability and invite them to assist in the recovery effort. Run by Points of Light Foundation and 1-800-Volunteer.org. Has information to prepare volunteers.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Disaster Response

Overview of disaster relief efforts around the world, with various documents and articles relevant to volunteer service.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)

NVOAD coordinates planning efforts by many voluntary organizations responding to disaster, providing more effective services and less duplication by getting together before disasters strike. Once disasters occur, NVOAD or an affiliated state VOAD encourages members and other voluntary agencies to convene on site. This cooperative effort has proven to be the most effective way for a wide variety of volunteers and organizations to work together in a crisis. Offer various reports and guides (see articles above).

People in Aid (free publications area)

UK site focusing mainly on paid relief workers but offering materials of use in working with volunteers.

Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams (REACT) International

Well-recognized organization of ham radio and CB operators who work with established emergency organizations to communicate worldwide during emergencies and disasters. The site provides self-help materials for the volunteers involved.

Volunteer Center Response Plan

Lengthy online manual outlining what a volunteer center can do during a disaster.

National professional association of directors, managers, and administrators of volunteer programs in local city, county and other local governments. Purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs through leadership, education, advocacy, net-working and information exchange. 

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Last Updated: October 7, 2015