Emergency Volunteer Center
The Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) provides a specific location where disaster volunteers can efficiently and effectively be deployed. The EVC is staffed by skilled, trained volunteer managers capable of screening, interviewing, and referring prospective volunteers in a professional manner. In large-scale disasters, the EVC can be set up as a “walk-in center”. In smaller disasters, the EVC can operate as a phone bank, a web-based processing center, or a combination of these scenarios. Whether it’s a large or small scale disaster there are many first-time volunteers who bring a wide range of skills and professional training -- which are often in short supply after a disaster or emergency.
When disaster strikes, Caring Choices staff and volunteers from their Emergency Volunteer Corps, will be tasked with managing these volunteers at the Emergency Volunteer Center. The purpose of the EVC is to mobilize community volunteers by matching them with volunteer opportunities at government agencies and other organizations active in disasters. The EVC registers volunteers and takes requests for volunteers. Volunteers are matched to these requests and referred to where they are needed.
When the EVC is Activated
Initially, the EVC may be open long hours - seven days a week if needed. During operation, the EVC would seek out volunteer needs in the impacted areas and allocate the appropriate volunteers to these areas. Unaffiliated volunteers can help with numerous efforts including and depending on the disaster: clerical work, data entry, translation/interpretation services, debris removal, sandbagging, answering phones, shelter care, and comfort, caring for lost pets as well as filling many other important needs.
The EVC Will:
Incorporate unaffiliated volunteers into disaster response and recovery
Provide an area where large numbers of unaffiliated volunteers can be processed and referred to agencies needing their service
Provide a central location for disaster-related programs such as Sacramento Region Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to convene and receive deployment instructions
The Benefits of an Emergency Volunteer Center
The EVC helps first responders and spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers interact in more efficient, beneficial ways. Emergency managers find that the EVC can help reduce the risk of accidents when volunteers do not "self-deploy" to disaster/emergency sites.
Disaster organizations find that interviewing and processing spontaneous volunteers can be time-consuming and appreciate the help of an EVC to screen and interview potential volunteers, ensuring that urgent needs are addressed in a timely manner. After an event, the volunteer may wish to affiliate with the organization for which they volunteered, therefore, becoming trained and ready to help that organization in the next disaster.
And finally, when spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers are well managed, it positively affects the community and the volunteers themselves, thus contributing to the overall healing process of both individuals and the larger community.
In the wake of the Camp Fire the community came together and through the hard work of volunteers were able to:
- Register over 4,500 Volunteers
- 20 unique Volunteer Sites were staffed
- 239 Sate employees came to volunteer
- 434 Credentialed Medical Professionals Volunteered
- Over 6000 Volunteer application processed
- 26 notaries processed state disaster forms
- Volunteers from all ages and backgrounds