Saturday, August 11, 2012

What to do without disasters

 So you have a great program, great volunteers, they are all background checked and NIMS compliant, now what?
If you run a disaster volunteer (the title of this blog) program, you know that often you are left waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen.  I know its a bit of perverse thing to do; but thats a different blog post.
My co-workers and volunteers often hear me say "volunteers don't join us to sit on a database, they volunteer to do!"
 There are some certainties that having active volunteers will fulfill.The WHY!
  • Active volunteers are happier and stay with programs longer
  • Active volunteers tell their friend what they do (think free advertising)
  • Active volunteers get noticed when they are doing (Think free advertising)
  • Active volunteers can help move your mission/program forward
Another certainty is you will have to work more to keep volunteers busy; it takes work to find, schedule, supervise and get things for them to do.  So now for some ideas:

MRC (Medical Reserve Corps)
  • Providing health checks at community fairs (tailor what you check to the audience)
  • Augmenting the Public Health mission - whatever you can do to help
  • Preparedness training for vulnerable populations in your area
  • Training
    • Red Cross shelter training
    • First Aid training
    • AED training
    • Cultural competency training
    • Radiological training/briefing
    • HAM radio (for warning and notifications)
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
  • Teaching Preparedness training for the community (vulnerable pops, kids, etc.)
  • First Aid
  • Shelter Training
  •  Community education (excuse me, did you know you live in a flood plain?)
  • Other ideas - Here
  • Pet sheltering training
Volunteer Fire Fighters
  • Teach Fire education in schools
  • Teach Fire education with vulnerable populations
  • Inspection and education (while they may not be able to do official inspections, they can augment your current program)
I know that some of these suggestions may not work (cost, law/rules/unions, interest, etc.)
I know I missed some ideas (please give me input and I'll add to the list allowing everyone to benefit from our collective wisdom)
And most of all I listed only three types of disaster volunteers, you are welcome to add to my list.

Thanks for reading

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