COMMUNITY LEADERS AGREE THE FORMULA FOR ENSURING A SAFER COUNTY CONSISTS OF TRAINED VOLUNTEERS AND INFORMED INDIVIDUAL TAKING ACTION TO INCREASE THE SUPPORT OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE AGENCIES DURING DISASTERS. MAJOR DISASTERS CAN OVERWHELM FIRST RESPONDER AGENCIES, EMPOWERING INDIVIDUALS TO LEND SUPPORT.
There are many ways to get involved when, especially before, a disaster occurs. The content found on this page will guide you to find ways to take action and protect your community in a disaster.
Monterey County Office of Emergency Services works closely with our volunteer and non-profit organizations to mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters to Monterey County by promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and foster more effective delivery of services to our communities when affected by disaster.
The Secondary Disaster
Monterey County is a loving and giving community; the compassion and generosity consistently demonstrated by Monterey County residents and businesses is never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. While we appreciate the uniqueness of our supportive community, please assist us in avoiding a secondary disaster caused by uncoordinated, uncontrolled masses of donated goods and volunteers, ultimately interfering with disaster operations, by following the general guidelines listed on this page.
Please donate and volunteer responsibly.
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The Volunteer Calendar features upcoming volunteer training, workshops, and community events related to disasters and preparedness within the Monterey County Operational Area. Calendar events are posted and maintained by our partner agencies and non-profits; Please contact the posting partner for questions.
Financial contributions are the most effective method of donating.
Funds allow the most flexibility in obtaining the needed resources, at the correct time and moves money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Donate through a trusted organization.
At the national level, many voluntary, faith and community based organizations are active during disasters, and are a trusted way to donate to disaster survivors. In addition to the national members, each state has voluntary organizations active in disasters (www.nvoad.org). If you'd like to donate or volunteer to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations are the best place to start.
When considering collecting and donating in-kind items, please use the established Emergency Management concept of allowing the responding organizations to ‘pull’ needed items and do not ‘push’ what you think is needed. Be skeptical when you hear people say ‘everything is needed’ or ‘they need as much as they can get’.
BEFORE Collecting: Connect with organizations working in the affected area to identify WHAT is needed, HOW MUCH is needed, and WHEN it is needed. The right items, in the correct amounts, at the right time.
BEFORE Collecting: Identify transportation to move the items from where they are to where they are needed.
BEFORE Collecting: Identify who will take possession of the items and how they will be used or distributed.
Used clothing is never needed in a disaster area. Donate used clothing locally to an organization that has a year round mission with used clothing. Or sell used clothing at a yard sale and donate the money raised to a responding organization.
Unsolicited, unorganized donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, warehouse, transport, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Monterey County Recovers
In the fall of 2015, with funding from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, a Monterey County branch of the community disaster preparedness and relief program called Recovers. Through this program, a website that matches needs and resources and serves as a central hub to connect residents, organizations, and local government agencies in the aftermath of serious emergencies and disasters. If you wish to donate money or goods, visit the Recovers website.
The priority of volunteer activity is assistance to others. When this spontaneous activity is well managed, it also positively effects the volunteers the,selves and this contributes to the healing process of both individuals and the larger community.
Volunteering is a valuable and necessary part of every healthy community. Volunteers come from all segments of society and often provide essential services. Everyone has the potential to contribute strength and resources in times of emergency.
Volunteers are successful participants in emergency management systems when they are flexible, self-sufficient, aware of risks, and willing to be coordinated by local emergency management experts. Volunteers must accept the obligation to "do no harm."
Volunteer Before the Disaster
- Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response or recovery prior to the disaster.
- Volunteer with a non-profit organization and be trained to find meaningful volunteer opportunities following a disaster.
- There are many organizations and faith-based groups that work nationally and in your community, that have active disaster programs and need volunteers.
- These groups offer a wide range of services following a disaster. See National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster www.nvoad.org for more information and to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
AFFILIATE WITH EXISTING NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE COMING TO THE DISASTER AREA.
Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY.
Wait until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Sign up to volunteer, and wait to travel until opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety equipment for the task.
Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often many years, after the disaster - especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.
If you would like to volunteer to support disaster efforts but have not registered or have not received training prior to the incident, there are several options available to you:
Register as a volunteer through the Monterey County Recovers website.
Register as a volunteer at an Emergency Volunteer Center near you, see below.
Monterey County Recovers
In the fall of 2015, with funding from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, a Monterey County branch of the community disaster preparedness and relief program called Recovers. Through this program, a website that matches needs and resources and serves as a central hub to connect residents, organizations, and local government agencies in the aftermath of serious emergencies and disasters. If you are not already registered as a volunteer with our non-profit partners and wish to volunteer, visit the Recovers website.
If you're a healthcare provider with an active license, a public health professional, or a member of a medical disaster response team in California who would like to volunteer for disaster service, Disaster Healthcare Volunteers is for you.
What does it take to register for disaster service?
- During the on-line registration process, you will be asked to enter information regarding your license (if applicable).
- Enter information about the best way to contact you, and other relevant background information.
- Once you've registered, your credentials will be validated - before an emergency - so that you can be deployed quickly and efficiently. Your information will only be viewed by authorized system managers.
Once I'm registered, what happens next?
- During a State or national disaster, (e.g., an earthquake severe weather event, or public health emergency), this system will be accessed by authorized medical/health officials at the State Emergency Operations Center or your county.
- If a decision is made to request your service, you will be contacted using the information you enter on the site. If you agree to deploy, your information will be forwarded to the appropriate field operational officials.
Part of being prepared is staying informed, and you can stay informed by attending free preparedness trainings in your area.
The concept of the CERT Program began in the mid-1980s when the Los Angeles Fire Department saw the need, in the event of a large-scale disaster, to train citizens on how to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way. FEMA formalized the CERT program in 1993 and the CERT program is now available nationwide. The CERT curriculum is taught from an all-hazards approach and each community emphasizes the disasters, both natural and manmade, to which they are most vulnerable. Although preparedness steps may vary from community to community, the goal remains the same: “to do the most good for the most amount of people” in an emergency, such as in the event of a natural disaster.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
In the event of a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, faith-based organizations, community, volunteer, and nonprofit organizations in areas eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program may apply for FEMA grants to help them get back to the business of helping others.
As part of its mission, FEMA provides grants to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and certain private nonprofits through its Public Assistance program. Community, volunteer, faith-based, and private nonprofit organizations conducting critical and essential services of a governmental nature that sustained disaster damage may be able to receive FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grants to repair or replace their facilities so they can continue offering critical and essential community services.
Only organizations with state or IRS tax-exempt status may be considered. For more information about eligible essential and critical service providers, go online to FEMA.gov and reference the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.