Karen-Denise Cyr and Colleen Watts, Incident Command Systems

Are you ready? Mobilizing and Managing Volunteers for Disasters

The impact of a disaster is often so catastrophic that no level of government, community agency, organization or group can provide all of the services required. Traditionally, organizations turn to volunteers to fill these gaps in service. The challenge is mobilizing not only the current volunteer force, but being prepared to tap into the resources of networks and community volunteers that may converge upon an organization in a time of need. Screening, assessing skills for placements, and orientating volunteers in a timely way becomes paramount. The manager must have clearly defined roles for volunteers yet remain flexible to the changing dynamics of the disaster.

Using the Incident Command System (ISC), this workshop will provide guiding principles, suggested induction and screening practices and typical job descriptions for a health care setting to support disaster mitigation, preparedness, and response and recovery efforts. This workshop will also be of value to organizations from any sector engaging volunteers to support Disaster Management activities.