Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Care for volunteers AFTER the initial disaster

As time moves forward we learn from the past; the important question is are we learning from other's lessons?

Following the 3-11 disaster in Japan last year, there has been a sharp drop in volunteer firefighters. In the article Keiichi Sasaki, 56, head of the division, said: "Some members have been begged by their families to quit because this job is dangerous. There may be more members who want to leave because of this."
There may be other reasons, but the thing that jumps out to me from the article; is there is no plan for mental health and counseling for the volunteers? Is there a plan for the employees?
So the question for you as a volunteer manager is what is your plan?  Do you have plans to provide for mental health care of your volunteers? What about their families?

I want to be clear I am not giving advice on which type of counseling to provide or the medium or time after the event to conduct it; that is someone else's specialty, not mine.

What I am saying is plan for it; engage the experts; put it in your plan.

If you utilize volunteers for disaster response no matter how small the event, you owe it to them to offer this care after the event. They might even stay around for the next disaster...


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