As a potential disaster volunteer it is important to partner with an organization that can match your capabilities with their response needs. Registered and trained disaster volunteers provide essential support that accelerates community resiliency. Remember, when the next disaster strikes, you will be part of the solution.
Please consider the following questions as you decide which disaster-response organization to register with:
- What role would I like to have in a disaster response?
- At what point in the disaster response cycle do I want to work (early response versus recovery and reconstruction)?
- How will my skills and talents be used to help those in crisis?
- Do I want to learn new skills?
- What is my time commitment? Do I want to volunteer on a daily, weekly, monthly or episodic event?
- Do I want to make a long-term commitment and partner with an organization that responds to a variety of events?
- Do I have an emergency plan in place for my family? Are their needs covered so that I can volunteer when needed?
- Can I attend required trainings?
Many people want to help others after a disaster strikes. But knowing how to help so that victims will get the greatest benefit from volunteer efforts is important.
Help people meet basic needs such as food and medical assistance.
Provide accurate information about the situation and listen to those who want to share their feelings and stories.
Help people to contact their loved ones and keep families together.
Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and remind people that the response organization is doing all it can to help and to manage it.
Give practical suggestion on what people can do.
Don’t force people to share their stories.
Don’t say everything will be OK.
Don’t tell people what and how they should feel.
Don’t tell people how they should have acted earlier.
Don’t make promises that cannot be kept.
Don’t criticize services in front of those who are in need of them. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/mhdpr/mhdpr-pfa.pdf