During an emergency

During an emergency

  • Firstly, ensure your own safety, don't put yourself or anyone else at risk in looking to support an emergency response.
  • Tune in to local radio / television channels to keep abreast of the news and developments in the emergency and be able to respond to any instructions or advice from the emergency services. If you observe problems, such as rising flood waters, do contact and advise the emergency services if this looks likely to pose a risk to you or others in your community.   
  • If you are a member of a recognised Category 2 responder agency - Red Cross, WRVS, Mountain Rescue Team etc - you may be contacted by your manager to support an emergency response either in a rest centre or other capacity. You will be given advice on where to attend and the relevant weather / road conditions.
  • Ensure you have the right clothing and equipment to make the journey and, if you have any doubt about being able to get to the location safely, advise your manager and do not attempt to travel as you may only add to the emergency situation.
  • If you can travel safely to the agreed location then do so and your assistance, in whatever capacity has been requested, will be gratefully received.
Non-associated "convergent" volunteers are people who wish to offer assistance to the response but are not directly linked to a Category 2 responding agency or voluntary agency and come forward to offer assistance without request.

More often than not people do appear who want to offer their help without being called out. While volunteers are always welcome and can make the response that bit easier, please be aware that you may not be needed at the time you present yourself and may be asked to "come back later" or to do another task rather than one you thought you might want to do. 

An example might be a rest centre where the manager has already contacted relevant voluntary organisations for support staff. If you attend to offer help, you might be asked to assist with making and distributing tea and coffee for a period until other staff arrive, or even asked to perhaps come back in a few hours as there are enough staff already available to manage the centre.

If a rest centre is likely to be operating for a number of hours, or even days, the availability of a pool of volunteers to assist will be welcomed to provide consistent and adequate support to the pepole affected.  

Please do not take offence - your details should be taken and contact information noted when you present yourself.

Recognise that the rest centre is a place of safety for those people affected by the emergency, whatever that might be, and it is the relevant council's responsibility to ensure the safety of the people involved. People attending, not linked to recognised voluntary agencies, are unknown and as such a "risk".

It is the responsibility of the rest centre manager (council) to manage the resources available without putting people at risk and so they would look to ensure that any unknown volunteers are always supervised and supported for their own and the council's benefit.   

Your assistance would always be welcomed but hopefully you will appreciate that it has to be managed according to the situation and needs of the response.
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