Presentation on theme: "Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster"— Presentation transcript:
1 Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster
2 SponsorsCNCSThe Corporation for National and Community Service works to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.HandsOn NetworkGenerated by the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world.
4 Objectives Understand spontaneous volunteers Identify the fundamentals of volunteer management in disaster response settingIdentify stakeholders in spontaneous volunteer managementLearn and use the vocabulary and concepts of disaster and disaster managementUnderstand the role of VOADs/COADsRecognize the importance of public messagingUnderstand the principles for managing donated goodsUnderstand the various roles involved in staffing a Volunteer Reception Center
6 Disaster Terminology Hazard Emergency Disaster Risk Vulnerability Source of potential harmDefined by 3 types: natural, technological, terrorismEmergencyOnset of hazard, which happens every day in every communityDisasterA large magnitude emergency that exceeds the resources of the local communityRiskLikelihood of hazard combined with consequencesVulnerabilityPropensity for damage from a disaster
7 Jeopardy! There are many of these every day in every community There are 50 to 60 a yearThere are three types: natural, technological and terrorismThis can be reduced by moving a building outside of a flood plainThis is the combination of likelihood and consequencesEmergencyPresidentially declared disasterHazardVulnerabilityRisk
8 Four Phases of Disaster Preparedness Planning how to respond to a disaster and increasing resources available to respond effectivelyPhases of DisasterPrep.ResponseRecoveryMitigationMitigation Activities that prevent, eliminate, or reduce the effects of a disasterDisasterWhen 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 conditionsResponse 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 shelterMucking out a flooded homeReceiving disaster trainingSecuring a bookshelf to the wallBuilding a disaster kit for your homeClearing debrisSandbagging a rising riverRebuilding a flooded school outside the flood plainPreparednessMitigationResponseRecoveryPreparednessMitigationPreparednessRecoveryMitigationRecovery and Mitigation
10 All Disasters Are Local StateFederalAll 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 governorThe 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.85723614
12 Alphabet Soup Activity Disaster management has many acronyms that are important to understand if you work in the fieldSee Page 10 in your participant materialsGuess the acronymConnect the acronym to its definition
13 Disaster Management Terms National Incident Management System # 11Incident Command System # 7National Response Plan # 1Critical Incident Stress Management # 13Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers # 10Emergency Management Agency # 9Emergency Operations Plan # 3Emergency Operation Center # 6Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster # 2Local Emergency Planning Committee # 12Citizen Corps Council # 8Community Emergency Response Team # 4Medical Reserve Corps # 50More information on some of these terms is available on page 11 of your manual
14 Stakeholders Local government Community based organizations HandsOn Action CentersCultural and ethnic communitiesDisability groupsCorporationsFirst RespondersVOAD OrganizationsMediaHAM radio operatorsSchoolsFaith-based organizationsLocal law enforcementEmergency managersMental Health providersPublic OfficialsOther volunteer organizationsTransportation companiesAt 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 fastAsk what is needed before donating any suppliesRespond by volunteering with a local relief agencyEveryone can help. Go to a local volunteer center.Find your nearest HandsOn Action Center at
16 Public MessagingPublic messaging aims to direct the flow of spontaneous volunteers and unsolicited donations to places that have the capacity to manage themStakeholders working together should have one consistent messageThe message and messenger should be established before the disastervoluntary 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 VolunteersVolunteers are a valuable resource when they are trained, assigned and supervisedThere is economic and logistical value in working with volunteers in times of disasterIdeally volunteers are affiliated beforehand, but during disasters many people volunteer for the first timeSUVs = Spontaneous Unaffiliated VolunteersVolunteers need to be flexible, self-sufficient, aware of risksInformation is vital to successful management of unaffiliated volunteersAll volunteers should receive safety training. The amount and type of training provided should be based on:Volunteer’s level of experiencePhysical or health demands of the workEquipment required for the taskGeneral review of policies, regulations and laws related to the work or situationA 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:HelpersReturneesThe AnxiousThe CuriousFans or SupportersExploitersHelpers - people who have come to help victims or responders in some wayReturnees - people who lived in the disaster-impacted area but were evacuatedThe 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 disasterFans or Supporters - people who gather to display flags and banners, encouraging and expressing gratitude to emergency workersExploiters - 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 PlanRecruit/Receive and Place VolunteersOrient and Train VolunteersSupervise and Recognize VolunteersEvaluate the programLook at page 17 – Under which element does each activity fit?Create a Plan for the Volunteer ProgramConduct 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 VolunteersCreate 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 VolunteersDetermine 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 VolunteersOrganize 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 ProgramDevelop 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 PlanningWriting job descriptions for possible disaster roles and the required skills for those jobsEstablishing procedures; signing MOUsReceiving and PlacingPublic messaging to spontaneous volunteersRegistering volunteersInterviewing volunteersPlanning 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 TrainingSafety training for everyoneJob training depending on:Risk of taskComplexity of taskVolunteer’s level of experienceType of equipment necessaryOrienting 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 conditionsBring work gloves, sunscreen, hat and any appropriate tools you haveBring water and drink it regularlyTake care of yourself, or you can not help otherCheck about volunteer liability coverageAttend any debriefing activity provided
25 Spontaneous Volunteer Management Supervising and RecognizingWatching for signs of Critical Incident StressEnsuring that volunteers take care of themselvesMonitoring changing situation in the disaster areaEvaluatingIntegrating lessons learned into plans for future disastersSupervising 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 volunteersAnswer one of the following groups of questions based on your experiencesReport the group’s conclusions to the larger group.
27 Remember!Volunteers will be spontaneous, whether or not you are preparedPlans for spontaneous volunteers should NOT be spontaneousIdentify possible roles, receiving agencies, VRC locations, policies and procedures BEFORE the disaster
29 Risk Management State laws on volunteer liability vary widely Workers Comp issues and “Good Samaritan Laws”Check outReceiving agencies are responsible for background checksUse common senseInterview all volunteersSome roles are more high risk than others; assign roles accordinglyGive a safety briefingRisk 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 riskHave an application so that you get more information about volunteersHave all volunteers sign a Release of Liability clausePresent 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.
31 National Service Roles LocalFilling community needs (if the needs change, roles may change)Supplementing and supporting other organizationsManaging and leveraging volunteersNot first respondersAre not self-deployedNationalDisaster is a focus area in the CNCS strategic planIncluded in National Response PlanRelationship with FEMA
32 Preventing a Disaster within a Disaster Donations ManagementPreventing 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 donationsMuch 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 disasterState and local governments should be in charge of donations operationsFederal government and NVOAD have support rolesMake full use of existing voluntary agency capabilitiesUse a flexible strategy and a team approachCash donations are preferredDonations 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 warehouseState EMALocal donations managementConduct a donated goods “drive”Organize a community yard saleLocal distribution centers or PODSCommunicating 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 neededCoordinate media releasesCoordinate field logisticsOpen and close-down warehousesTransportationNegotiate with donorsDispose of remaining goods when the warehouses closesConduct a critique (“hot wash”)Identify donations that are needed and not neededDon’t guess or listen to rumors, talk to organizations, shelters, hospitals, etc.This is Donations intelligenceCoordinate media releases and communication messages including website and social media outletsCoordinate field logistics – what warehouse will be open, when, and accepting whatNegotiate with donors - what they can provide, when, and how transportation will be handledPlan for how to dispose of left over goods when the warehouses closeHave a debrief/critique session at the end, this is called “hot wash” emergency management
39 Importance of Effective Messaging Distribute a consistent and clear messageConfirm there is a needEducate the public about how to donate goodsAddress transportation for donated goodsPackaging and labeling goodsSortedShrink-wrappedPalletizedUnwanted and unsorted clothing
40 Break-out Session MANAGING A LOCAL DONATED GOODS DRIVE Develop a list of groups in your community that could assist you with a local donated goods drive immediately following a major eventDevelop a media message for your donated goods drive