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Managing Volunteer Resources

Citizen Corps Volunteer Liability Guide

Citizen Corps Liability Guide

Well-trained volunteers supplement emergency responders in a variety of ways and liability is a concern of many in these roles.  Liability is also a potential barrier to volunteer involvement in emergency services. This liability guide covers a broad range of topics that impact liability and offers real-world examples of how legal responsibility is handled regarded emergency volunteers.  Some of these topics include legally imposed payment of damages for personal injury or property damage; penalties for practicing a profession or trade without the required license or permit; compensation for lost income and medical expenses of an injured volunteer; and damages for breach of contract.

To offer guidance in this area, FEMA funded the nonprofit Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) to develop the Citizen Corps Volunteer Liability Guide (CCVLG) to provide an overview of liability and to suggest some approaches to addressing these concerns.

Click here to download the Citizen Corps Volunteer Liability Guide (PDF, 1.6MB)







State Liability Laws

State Liability Laws

Good Samaritan Laws. Volunteer Protection. Volunteer Immunity. Liability Limitation. Shield Laws. Charitable Immunity. These are issues confronting many volunteer initiatives.

A 2001 publication (additional information was added in 2005, 2008, and December 2009) issued by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center helps to answer many of the questions raised. Their publication, State Liability Laws for Charitable Organizations and Volunteers (122-page PDF), provides an overview of the variety of laws in this field and a compendium each States' laws. Because coverage varies from state to state, we urge you to consult your legal counsel if you have any specific questions. 










Managing Spontaneous Volunteers in Times of Disaster

Managing Spontaneous Volunteers

When disaster – natural or man-made – strikes a community, specific emergency management and nonprofit organizations respond according to a pre-established plan. Each of these designated organizations has a specific role to play in ensuring an effective response to and recovery from the disaster’s devastation. Yet one element within the present system continues to pose a challenge: spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers. Spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers – our neighbors and ordinary citizens – often arrive on-site at a disaster ready to help. Yet because they are not associated with any part of the existing emergency management response system, their offers of help are often underutilized by professional responders. The paradox is clear: people’s willingness to volunteer versus the system’s capacity to utilize them effectively.

Click here to download the entire Managing Spontaneous Volunteers Guide. (PDF)







Community Preparedness Online Toolkit

The Community Preparedness Toolkit provides step-by-step directions along with useful resources for making your community, safer, more resilient, and better prepared. The Community Preparedness Toolkit can be used to develop a community-based approach to preparedness, such as a Citizen Corps Council. Citizen Corps is FEMA's grassroots strategy to bring together government and community leaders to involve citizens in all-hazards emergency preparedness and resilience. Citizen Corps asks you to embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.

Click here for the toolkit.


Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)


Research shows that while 71% of households reported having copies of important financial documents in a safe place, only 1% specifically mentioned the documents as being part of their household disaster supplies.  Only 2% of households reported having cash as part of their disaster preparedness supplies.  Pre-disaster financial planning is essential for individuals and families to complete because disasters leave many Americans without access to finances or with expensive damages.

The EFFAK is a simple tool designed to assist you and your family in being financially prepared before a disaster strikes and maintaining financial stability in the event of an emergency. EFFAK helps you to identify and organize key financial records and provides a quick reference file for your most important financial documents. One kit per household is recommended, although in the event one kit is used for a couple, all joint and separate accounts and liabilities should be included.








Girl Scouts Emergency Preparedness Patch Program

The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and FEMA’s Individual & Community Preparedness Division partnered to develop the Emergency Preparedness Patch Program.  The curriculum for this program is now available.  While this is a program developed for Girl Scouts, the curriculum can be applied to a variety of youth programs.  This program can help prepare individuals and communities to:

--Identify local risks and potential emergencies

--Connect with local community service agencies

--Understand hazards and appropriate protective actions

--Learn local alerts and warning systems

--Prepare themselves and their family

--Deal with emotional responses to an emergency

--Discover how to get trained and become involved in community emergency planning

This 3 to 5 hour curriculum is modularized and applicable to youth ages 5 to 17.  If you would like to work with your local Girl Scouts, click here to find the nearest Council in your area.

Citizen Corps Councils are encouraged to work with local Girl Scouts and other programs supporting youth preparedness.

Click here to download the Girl Scouts Emergency Preparedness Patch Program Guidance
Click here to download the Girl Scouts Emergency Preparedness Patch Program Appendices


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