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Volunteer Opportunities and Guidelines

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Volunteers are Needed

There are a variety of ways for those interested in volunteering their services to get involved with preparing and responding to community emergency and natural disaster (CEND) incidents in Douglas County.  Matching the skills of volunteers with the unmet needs in the community greatly improves the response effort.  The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA) will attempt to first match the skills and interests of the volunteer to those organizations who are currently providing important functions for DCEMA during CEND incidents.  Once the individual affiliates with an organization, the individual will typically receive training and real-world experience in their area of interest.  This website lists several organizations that are comprised of volunteers who perform important duties in time of need.  Volunteers serve critical roles in planning, exercises, training and response.

Volunteer Management

To adequately address the needs of Douglas County prior, during and after a community emergency or natural disaster, DCEMA will orchestrate, coordinate and facilitate the use of certain volunteer groups and individuals.  This policy does not apply to those volunteers requested by for-profit organizations / entities or those human resources requested outside of the controlling Incident Command System.

a. Volunteer Groups Managed by DCEMA.  DCEMA will maintain prioritization to activate and be responsible for the activities of Heartland REACT, Douglas County ARES and local CERT personnel in time of need.  These volunteer groups play an integral role in our community by assisting DCEMA during CEND incidents.  As needed, there may also be individual Emergency Workers augmented and managed by DCEMA whose skills are more technical in nature.

b. Spontaneous Volunteers Managed by DCEMA.  Depending on the incident, event or circumstance, DCEMA may request the use of spontaneous volunteers to assist our community.  DCEMA will utilize spontaneous volunteers in an organized manner based on adequate leadership, coordination and assignment of tasks.

c. Volunteers Not Managed by DCEMA.  The communication, guidance and activities of groups or specific individuals activated by organizations and entities other than DCEMA during a CEND incident are the responsibility of the requesting organization.  The requesting organization should keep in mind that command and control of volunteer activities during all phases of a CEND event should be organized and fulfilled in a manner consistent with the Incident Command System.  Under this system, volunteers and other human resources must be activated, managed and assigned through an organized and formal process whereby DCEMA is kept apprised of tracking of volunteer labor hours and fulfillment of tasks. 

 d.  Identification and Badges.  All volunteers affiliated with an organization who serve the community in any capacity during a CEND event shall bear identification that includes, but is not limited to, their first and last name and organizational affiliation.  Unless approved or determined otherwise by DCEMA, identifying wrist bands will be issued daily to all volunteers (spontaneous and affiliated) by DCEMA or its delegated organization.  All volunteer hours will be tracked, logged and documented on forms approved by DCEMA.  Affiliated volunteers shall also have an identifiable group leader present from their organization who knows the identity of the volunteers in their respective group.  Exceptions to these requirements may be granted by the Unified/Incident Command, Unified Recovery Management Team, or DCEMA.

 e.  Restrictions.  Volunteers shall be appropriately dressed for the assigned tasks and at least 14 years of age to serve in a needed capacity.  Volunteers under age 18 shall not operate power equipment.  (01/30/13)


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