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Historically, first responders have been hesitant to incorporate unaffiliated volunteers into response efforts, even when a clear need for additional “manpower” has been identified. This hesitation is grounded in real concerns about safety, liability, skills, character, and appropriateness to the gravity of the situation by unknown, untrained, and untested individuals. However, spontaneous volunteers, when managed appropriately, can bring needed skills and  essential resources to a response when it has been determined that local, affiliated resources have been exhausted.

The Plan has been developed to help ensure effective management of spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers during response and recovery for a large-scale emergency or disaster. It follows the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and guidance for Emergency Support Function 15 (ESF-15) and, as such, is scalable to fit the scope of the event. Volunteer supervision and safety are primary considerations. The Plan should be reviewed and modified to meet the needs of the community and to ensure compatibility with existing plans such as the Community’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP).

Spontaneous Volunteer Plan (PDF, 5.1 MB)

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