Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster"— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster

2 Sponsors CNCS The Corporation for National and Community Service works to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. HandsOn Network Generated by the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world.

3 Facilitators Presenter name and info Presenter 2

4 Objectives Understand spontaneous volunteers
Identify the fundamentals of volunteer management in disaster response setting Identify stakeholders in spontaneous volunteer management Learn and use the vocabulary and concepts of disaster and disaster management Understand the role of VOADs/COADs Recognize the importance of public messaging Understand the principles for managing donated goods Understand the various roles involved in staffing a Volunteer Reception Center

5 Disaster Basics

6 Disaster Terminology Hazard Emergency Disaster Risk Vulnerability
Source of potential harm Defined by 3 types: natural, technological, terrorism Emergency Onset of hazard, which happens every day in every community Disaster A large magnitude emergency that exceeds the resources of the local community Risk Likelihood of hazard combined with consequences Vulnerability Propensity for damage from a disaster

7 Jeopardy! There are many of these every day in every community
There are 50 to 60 a year There are three types: natural, technological and terrorism This can be reduced by moving a building outside of a flood plain This is the combination of likelihood and consequences Emergency Presidentially declared disaster Hazard Vulnerability Risk

8 Four Phases of Disaster
Preparedness Planning how to respond to a disaster and increasing resources available to respond effectively Phases of Disaster Prep. Response Recovery Mitigation Mitigation Activities that prevent, eliminate, or reduce the effects of a disaster Disaster When a disaster occurs, the first phase is Response, which includes actions to save lives and protect property such as emergency assistance to victims. Recovery is when efforts are focused on returning the community to normal functioning. Short term recovery is focused on the most vital life support systems, while long-term recovery, which can last for years, is focused on returning a community to pre-disaster conditions. (Repairing phone lines and electricity, rebuilding roads, bridges, houses, schools, cleaning roads and homes, etc) Mitigation can happen before and after disasters; it is efforts to prevent, eliminate or reduce the efforts of a disaster. (Building a family kit, receiving Red Cross disaster training, conducting public education campaigns, implementing disaster response training exercises, affiliating volunteers) Preparedness efforts are planning for how to respond to a disaster and gathering necessary resources to respond effectively. Recovery Short-term recovery returns vital life support systems to minimum operating standards; long-term recovery returns area to normal or near-normal conditions Response Activities to provide emergency assistance to victims of the event and reduce the likelihood of secondary damage

9 Which phase? Making a family communication plan Building levees
Setting up a shelter Mucking out a flooded home Receiving disaster training Securing a bookshelf to the wall Building a disaster kit for your home Clearing debris Sandbagging a rising river Rebuilding a flooded school outside the flood plain Preparedness Mitigation Response Recovery Preparedness Mitigation Preparedness Recovery Mitigation Recovery and Mitigation

10 All Disasters Are Local
State Federal All disasters begin and end as local events.  When a disaster first occurs, local government and voluntary agencies respond. If they are overwhelmed by the event, they will ask neighboring counties and organizations for assistance.  If these resources are still insufficient, the state government can be requested to supply resources and personnel. If the state is also overwhelmed, the governor can request the president to provide Federal supplies. As immediate responses and short-term recovery needs are met, the federal government will cede responsibility back to the state government and the local. The vast majorities of disasters are only handled at the local level and never receive state or federal assistance. Are there any questions?

11 Disaster Response Lifecycle
What is the proper order for these events? FEMA activates the National Response Plan (NRP). FEMA reviews a request for a presidential declaration of major disaster. The President grants a presidential major disaster declaration. Mayor or county executive requests help from governor The Governor activates the state emergency response system. FEMA recommends a declaration of major disaster to the Office of the President. First Responders address immediate needs. The Governor requests a presidential declaration of major disaster. 8 5 7 2 3 6 1 4

12 Alphabet Soup Activity
Disaster management has many acronyms that are important to understand if you work in the field See Page 10 in your participant materials Guess the acronym Connect the acronym to its definition

13 Disaster Management Terms
National Incident Management System # 11 Incident Command System # 7 National Response Plan # 1 Critical Incident Stress Management # 13 Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers # 10 Emergency Management Agency # 9 Emergency Operations Plan # 3 Emergency Operation Center # 6 Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster # 2 Local Emergency Planning Committee # 12 Citizen Corps Council # 8 Community Emergency Response Team # 4 Medical Reserve Corps # 50 More information on some of these terms is available on page 11 of your manual

14 Stakeholders Local government Community based organizations
HandsOn Action Centers Cultural and ethnic communities Disability groups Corporations First Responders VOAD Organizations Media HAM radio operators Schools Faith-based organizations Local law enforcement Emergency managers Mental Health providers Public Officials Other volunteer organizations Transportation companies At your table, identify specific organizations within your community that fit in these categories. What is their role?

15 Helping in Times of Disaster
Cash – Financial gifts get help to people fast Ask what is needed before donating any supplies Respond by volunteering with a local relief agency Everyone can help. Go to a local volunteer center. Find your nearest HandsOn Action Center at

16 Public Messaging Public messaging aims to direct the flow of spontaneous volunteers and unsolicited donations to places that have the capacity to manage them Stakeholders working together should have one consistent message The message and messenger should be established before the disaster voluntary agencies should develop a plan and public messaging for unsolicited donations that includes a plan for messaging on your website, partner’s websites and social media platforms like twitter and facebook. In your group, come up with an appropriate message to address your scenario (see page 14)

17 Spontaneous Volunteers and Volunteer Management

18 Disaster Volunteers Volunteers are a valuable resource when they are trained, assigned and supervised There is economic and logistical value in working with volunteers in times of disaster Ideally volunteers are affiliated beforehand, but during disasters many people volunteer for the first time SUVs = Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers Volunteers need to be flexible, self-sufficient, aware of risks Information is vital to successful management of unaffiliated volunteers All volunteers should receive safety training. The amount and type of training provided should be based on: Volunteer’s level of experience Physical or health demands of the work Equipment required for the task General review of policies, regulations and laws related to the work or situation A vital part of volunteer supervision in times of disaster is recognition of signs of compassion fatigue  in volunteers. Disasters are stressful situations and volunteers can easily become overwhelmed, especially if they do not take good care of themselves. Supervisors who see compassion fatigue in their volunteers need to insist that volunteers take the time to take care of themselves and provide resources for them to process all that they are seeing, feeling, and experiencing.  Consider quoting, italicizing, underlining, or bolding the first time it is used, as it is an unfamiliar term.

19 Who Converges? People converge at disaster sites for different reasons: Helpers Returnees The Anxious The Curious Fans or Supporters Exploiters Helpers - people who have come to help victims or responders in some way Returnees - people who lived in the disaster-impacted area but were evacuated The Anxious - people from outside the impacted area who are attempting to obtain information about family and friends. The Curious - people who are motivated primarily to view the destruction left in the wake of the disaster Fans or Supporters - people who gather to display flags and banners, encouraging and expressing gratitude to emergency workers Exploiters - people who try to use the disaster for personal gain or profit

20 Remember . . . Disaster volunteers are priceless, but disaster survivors are our purpose!

21 Elements of Volunteer Management
Create a Plan Recruit/Receive and Place Volunteers Orient and Train Volunteers Supervise and Recognize Volunteers Evaluate the program Look at page 17 – Under which element does each activity fit? Create a Plan for the Volunteer Program Conduct regular needs assessments. Stay current on the trends in volunteering. Assess volunteer positions on a regular basis. Write position descriptions for all volunteer duties. Build a team of staff and volunteers to guide the program volunteer leaders. *If you are going to be the “host” for the VRC, you should at least have drafts of this plan available and possible position descriptions, based on your community and the types of disasters that are possible. Communicate with and Place Volunteers Create a screening process for volunteers. Place volunteers in appropriate positions. *If you are the “host,” you should have a plan defined prior to disaster. The plan would include media strategies, a technology plan, and working with community partners. You should also consider having partner agencies enter “opportunities” pre-disaster to customize when disaster strikes and “enable” once needed. Orient and Train Volunteers Determine the needs of volunteers related to their position. Determine the needs of the organization related to the volunteer’s position. Write position descriptions. Organize orientation training for volunteers. Organize in-service training for volunteers. *Identify local trainers who can perform this function or establish an arrangement with a state or national partner who can provide assistance. Supervise and Recognize Volunteers Organize supervision and management activities to support the work of the volunteers. Understand the internal and external motivators for volunteers. Assist staff in understanding the techniques to work effectively with volunteers. Develop and implement a recognition plan. *If spontaneous volunteers will be assigned to community-based organizations (CBOs), the agencies must have their own defined plan to supervise volunteers under their jurisdiction. It is critical for all CBOs to have Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans and include the role of these volunteers. Evaluate the Volunteer Program Develop a plan to evaluate all aspects of the volunteer program. Use known standards to assess the program. Use the results of the evaluation to plan the volunteer program for the next year.

22 Spontaneous Volunteer Management
Planning Writing job descriptions for possible disaster roles and the required skills for those jobs Establishing procedures; signing MOUs Receiving and Placing Public messaging to spontaneous volunteers Registering volunteers Interviewing volunteers Planning a volunteer program: Did the volunteer position you filled meet a clearly defined need? How can you tell? Were you provided a clear position description? What were the advantages or disadvantages of that? Did you know who to turn to if you had questions about your position? Was there staff guiding the volunteer program? If you were managing that program, what would you do the same? What would you change? Placing volunteers: How did you find out about the volunteer position? What messaging/communication strategies were used? How were you screened? How did you feel being screened? Was your volunteer position a good match for you? Why or why not?

23 Spontaneous Volunteer Management
Orienting and Training Safety training for everyone Job training depending on: Risk of task Complexity of task Volunteer’s level of experience Type of equipment necessary Orienting and training volunteers: Did you receive a formal orientation or training for your position? Did the training prepare you for the requirements of the position? Was there on-going training after you started? If you were managing that program, what would you do the same? What would you change?

24 Safety Training Carefully follow any instructions given to you
Dress appropriately for the conditions Bring work gloves, sunscreen, hat and any appropriate tools you have Bring water and drink it regularly Take care of yourself, or you can not help other Check about volunteer liability coverage Attend any debriefing activity provided

25 Spontaneous Volunteer Management
Supervising and Recognizing Watching for signs of Critical Incident Stress Ensuring that volunteers take care of themselves Monitoring changing situation in the disaster area Evaluating Integrating lessons learned into plans for future disasters Supervising and recognizing volunteers: Did you have supervision? Was it too much or too little? Were you motivated to continue volunteering? What kept you motivated? Were you recognized for your volunteer work? How? If you were managing that program, what would you do the same? What would you change?

26 Break-out Session See pages 24-25 in your manual
Think of a time you volunteered or managed volunteers Answer one of the following groups of questions based on your experiences Report the group’s conclusions to the larger group.

27 Remember! Volunteers will be spontaneous, whether or not you are prepared Plans for spontaneous volunteers should NOT be spontaneous Identify possible roles, receiving agencies, VRC locations, policies and procedures BEFORE the disaster

28 Risk Management

29 Risk Management State laws on volunteer liability vary widely
Workers Comp issues and “Good Samaritan Laws” Check out Receiving agencies are responsible for background checks Use common sense Interview all volunteers Some roles are more high risk than others; assign roles accordingly Give a safety briefing Risk is a factor in every activity in life. In volunteer activities this is also the case. Liability issues in times of disaster are particularly important because volunteers are working with vulnerable communities, as well as in dangerous areas. VRCs are not equipped to run full background or criminal checks or to confirm that certifications exist. This responsibility rests with the receiving agency. However, VRCs should take some common sense measures to limit risk. Interview all volunteers. A face-to-face conversation can help you assess someone. Remember that more screening should be done on volunteers who will be working with high-risk groups, like children and the elderly, or those who will have access to sensitive information, records etc. Give all volunteers a safety briefing and keep a record of who received training; this may provide some defense if someone is injured on the job. Other options include: Have a position description so that volunteers are fully aware of the requirements and risk Have an application so that you get more information about volunteers Have all volunteers sign a Release of Liability clause Present content for general safety training: Each volunteer should receive the basic safety training. It can be tailored to the specific disaster. Here are recommendations for a general safety training session: If you will be working outside, dress for the weather. Boots may be helpful, as debris on the ground can be sharp and dangerous. Bring work gloves, sunscreen, a hat and any appropriate tools you have. You will be responsible for your tools. Water may be available at your work site, but you are encouraged to bring a personal water container. It is important to drink lots of water while you work. While working, you will have a higher than normal exposure to bacteria. When you take a break, wash thoroughly. The work you will be doing may cause you stress, anxiety, fear, or other strong emotions. You are providing a valuable service by volunteering today. Please understand that, by helping, we will not be able to undo the effects of this event. We are each just one person. All we can do is help in our own small ways to assist victims into the recovery process. If you care for one lost animal, find one child’s lost favorite toy, or hold the hand of one wheelchair bound senior in a shelter, you will have eased a little of the pain. Do not feel guilty because you are not able to fix everything. Just work your shift, then go home to rest and eat well. Both will help to relieve the stress. Be sure to attend any debriefing that may be conducted at the end of your shift. Older children can help with the disaster recovery work in some areas, but parents must sign a release of liability form for each child under the age of 18. It is recommended that children remain in school, if it is open. NOTE: Refer to agency’s youth policy and/or OSHA regulations about what youth can do related to specific disaster and specific agency work. Check with the local government about volunteer liability coverage. You may (or may not) be covered by insurance provided by the county in which you will be working. If you are covered by local volunteer liability coverage and you sustain an injury, you must pay for any treatment required and then submit a claim form and to be reimbursed by the insurance company. Most likely your organization must be written into the city/county or state plan in order to receive coverage. Otherwise it is a good idea to check with your organization’s insurance policy for coverage related to these incidents.

30 National Service and Disasters

31 National Service Roles
Local Filling community needs (if the needs change, roles may change) Supplementing and supporting other organizations Managing and leveraging volunteers Not first responders Are not self-deployed National Disaster is a focus area in the CNCS strategic plan Included in National Response Plan Relationship with FEMA

32 Preventing a Disaster within a Disaster
Donations Management Preventing a Disaster within a Disaster

33 Why do you care about donations?
Immediately after an incident, voluntary agencies are often the first line of assistance for families and individuals. Even agencies not involved in donations management may suddenly be inundated with donations Much of the assistance that is provided comes from public donations

34 Principles of Donation Management
Effective donations planning, coordination and management are necessary to avoid the chaos and waste of time and effort that large shipments of undesignated goods can cause

35 Preventing the Disaster
Who sent the used false teeth?

36 National Strategy for Donations Management
Donations activity may begin BEFORE a disaster State and local governments should be in charge of donations operations Federal government and NVOAD have support roles Make full use of existing voluntary agency capabilities Use a flexible strategy and a team approach Cash donations are preferred Donations management is vital in a disaster by preventing chaos and waste of time and resources that large shipments of unsolicited goods can cause. Why is this a problem? Because many products are shipped to an overwhelmed disaster area that cannot be used. Yes, used false teeth have been donated in the past, as have parkas for Florida hurricane victims and prom dresses for Sri Lankan fishermen. In fact, used clothes are almost never needed during a disaster because donations of new clothing from manufactures are often available, which don’t have the problem of sorting and cleaning that used clothes present. Donations management activities should begin before a disaster declaration, just like plans should be made before a disaster for spontaneous volunteer management. Donations management is generally a state function, so state and local governments are in charge, with the federal government and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) agencies providing support as requested. For example, because the state was getting overwhelmed by unsolicited donated goods that could not be used, state troopers in Louisiana started turning tractor-trailers away at the border if they did not have a previous agreement to deliver their load. Cash donations are the preferred donation because there are no transportation costs, no storage costs, they can be sent immediately, cash allows victims to get exactly what they need and it helps the local devastated economy.

37 Potential Roles for Volunteers
Multi-agency warehouse State EMA Local donations management Conduct a donated goods “drive” Organize a community yard sale Local distribution centers or PODS Communicating where and how to donate online via social media outlets and platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, website, blogs)

38 Basic Functions of Donations Management
Identify donations that are needed and NOT needed Coordinate media releases Coordinate field logistics Open and close-down warehouses Transportation Negotiate with donors Dispose of remaining goods when the warehouses closes Conduct a critique (“hot wash”) Identify donations that are needed and not needed Don’t guess or listen to rumors, talk to organizations, shelters, hospitals, etc. This is Donations intelligence Coordinate media releases and communication messages including website and social media outlets Coordinate field logistics – what warehouse will be open, when, and accepting what Negotiate with donors - what they can provide, when, and how transportation will be handled Plan for how to dispose of left over goods when the warehouses close Have a debrief/critique session at the end, this is called “hot wash” emergency management

39 Importance of Effective Messaging
Distribute a consistent and clear message Confirm there is a need Educate the public about how to donate goods Address transportation for donated goods Packaging and labeling goods Sorted Shrink-wrapped Palletized Unwanted and unsorted clothing

Develop a list of groups in your community that could assist you with a local donated goods drive immediately following a major event Develop a media message for your donated goods drive

41 Group Discussions

42 Break-out Session Answer the questions for your group on page 32-34
Write out answers on flip chart paper Report out to the whole group

43 Volunteer Reception Center

44 Wrap-up & Evaluation

45 Questions?

46 Thank you! Thank you for your participation!
Please complete an evaluation before you leave HandsOn Network: The Resource Center:


Download ppt "Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google