The Volunteer Center partners with the Kern County Office of Emergency Services to respond to agency needs in the event of a disaster. Spontaneous volunteers (those unaffiliated with organized agencies) respond in remarkable numbers to help out whenever and wherever they are needed after a disaster. During the Erskine Creek Fire in the Kern River Valley (2016), the Volunteer Center was instrumental in assisting with the Transition Center and the Local Assistance Center set up for those losing their homes during that disaster last summer.
The Volunteer Center is also tasked with providing training and ongoing support for Kern County employees assigned to the operation of a Emergency Volunteer Reception Center during a disaster, supported by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and CaliforniaVolunteers.
DISASTER VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers are people wanting to help others during a disaster but who have no training or prior affiliation with a disaster response agency. During the San Diego fires, tens of thousands of spontaneous volunteers came forward. Unfortunately, in many instances they hindered rather than helped the disaster operations because there was no plan to employ them. Shortly after that event, the Emergency Volunteer Service concept was developed at the state level in order to remedy this predicament with local efforts.
Kern County consistently needs skilled and dedicated volunteers to be pre-trained for operating an EVRC. Positions such as receptionist, interviewer, data coordinator, training officer, security officer, and others are available. The EVRC program is also in need of a dedicated intern or volunteer who can commit extended service times to assist with training and outreach activities.
HOW CAN YOU PREPARE TO ENGAGE IN THE EVENT OF A DISASTER?
The Volunteer Center helps people find meaningful service opportunities based on their skills, interests and experience.