Spontaneous and Unaffiliated Volunteer (SUV) Training Series
Volunteers are an essential part of emergency response and disaster recovery. Large and small scale emergencies involve and attract volunteers of all types: affiliated and unaffiliated; deployed and self-deployed. Research suggests that the more uncoordinated an emergency response effort seems, the more volunteers will self-deploy, potentially becoming a disaster within a disaster by taking precious resources away from the emergency response. There is also sufficient evidence to indicate that utilizing all types of volunteers makes a community more resilient and improves disaster response and recovery. Moreover, volunteer time, if properly tracked and documented, can be an essential part of a local entity’s required 25% match during federally declared disasters.
The Spontaneous and Unaffiliated Volunteer (SUV) Training Toolkit is designed to provide the resources necessary to effectively plan for and safely operate a volunteer management system based on the Incident Command System (ICS). This planning and training series, a project of the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC), was developed by Berkshire Regional Planning Commission under guidance and direction from WRHSAC and local response partners.
The Toolkit includes:
- Spontaneous Volunteer Management System (SVMS) Plan with Job Action Sheets and Forms
- SVMS Standard Operating Guide (SOG) checklist
- Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) Field Guide
- Four (4) self-directed training PowerPoints and that build on each other
- Online/virtual volunteer management recommendations for establishing online or virtual volunteer management systems.
- Handouts and other training job aids
This self-directed training series provides emergency management directors, responders and organizations involved in planning and responding to emergencies with the tools to efficiently manage and safely utilize spontaneous and unaffiliated volunteers. Organizations which can benefit from these tools include Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Units, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) members, faith based groups, and other local and regional groups.
The following video provides a description of spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers, considerations and recommended actions using the above tools.