Our Disaster Volunteering programs build the infrastructure to efficiently place volunteers in the right place at the right time. Whether in hospitals, nonprofits or government agencies, well-managed volunteers are a solution in times of disaster.
When Disaster Strikes, We Look to Government, Nonprofits and Each Other For Help
The devastating nature of disasters finds us at our most compassionate and spontaneous as we look to be of assistance and support. Whether or not people have ever volunteered before, and regardless of any prior experience in emergency response and recovery, disasters bring out our shared sense of community.
Through two key programs, we partner closely with local government and nonprofits to support both health care workers as well as spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers who want to serve in times of disaster.
Disaster Healthcare Volunteers
Through the LA County Disaster Healthcare Volunteers–LA County Surge Unit (formerly known as ESAR-VHP) Volunteer Los Angeles recruits, registers and verifies credentials of medical, health, mental health and other volunteers in advance of a large scale disaster or public health emergency.
- For more information about the LA County Disaster Healthcare Volunteers program, click here.
- To register as an LA County Disaster Healthcare Volunteer, click here.
Spontaneous Volunteers in Disaster
In disasters, sometimes the best of intentions can result in bad outcomes. Volunteers, moved to action to support their communities, may show up on the front lines or in places where victims are being treated. When no one is expecting them, these spontaneous volunteers create additional challenges for responders focused on meeting immediate needs and may even unwittingly place themselves in harm’s way.
Our Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) program supports emergency response and recovery efforts in the Los Angeles area through the effective management of spontaneous volunteers. Following a disaster, Volunteer LA is prepared to activate an EVC to register spontaneous volunteers and match them with specific and appropriate disaster-related volunteer needs in the community.
Because coordination with emergency response officials is critical to being effective in disaster response and recovery, we are partnering closely with the County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles and key nonprofit organizations active in disaster such as the American Red Cross and 2-1-1. We serve on the Board of the local VOAD, the Emergency Network of Los Angeles, and are a member of the HandsOn Network’s National Disaster Committee.
Regional Lead EVC – Southern Region
Given the importance of spontaneous volunteer management in disaster, CaliforniaVolunteers – the state agency leading service and volunteering efforts in California – and the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), have initiated a project to build the capacity of communities throughout California to manage spontaneous volunteers effectively.
Volunteer Los Angeles was chosen to lead this effort in Cal EMA’s Southern Region. As the Southern Regional Lead, Volunteer LA is positioned at the heart of spontaneous volunteer management efforts in the 11 counties that make up the Southern Region. In this role, we are focused on:
- Identifying agencies and organizations to take on responsibility for EVC operations in their community.
- Providing guidance to identified agencies and organizations to build capacity to locally manage spontaneous volunteers in disaster.
- Connecting identified agencies and organizations through a mutual assistance network so that when one area is affected by disaster, assistance can be requested and coordinated effectively from non-affected communities.