Volunteers are vital during and in the aftermath of emergencies. During an emergency, only highly trained disaster and emergency experts are engaged. However, when it's safe, community needs are assessed and additional volunteers may be required to support active and approved emergency agencies.
The best way to ensure you can help out during an emergency is to start volunteering with an emergency or community organisation prior to any emergency. If you sign up before an event, then you're one step closer to being able to help out when well-trained volunteers are most needed.
Recruiting volunteers via social media
Social media has been very effective at mobilising volunteer efforts during emergencies. There are some risks associated with engaging members of the public as volunteers that must always be considered:
- insurance protection
- liability issues
- ensuring people have appropriate experience and training and their skills are matched to their tasks
- providing appropriate support for volunteers.
The best approach is to direct volunteers to an official volunteer organisation. During emergencies, Volunteering Tasmania registers those offering their support and assists emergency organisations in accessing those registered volunteers by:
- Collecting accurate, up-to-date data on those who have expressed an interest to volunteer.
- Engaging with disaster response and recovery agencies' requests for volunteers and refer registered volunteers to the relevant agency.
- Referring non-volunteering callers to approved relevant agencies specialising in managing such offers.
- Promoting safety and wellbeing of all volunteers in the community.
For official information on volunteering, follow Volunteering Tasmania on Facebook.
During an emergency, information about the most appropriate volunteer organisations will be provided via TasALERT.