Volunteering in an Emergency
Volunteering Victoria’s HelpOUT emergency volunteering service was initiated in July 2015, with time-limited pilot funding through the Commonwealth government’s Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme, and went live in February 2016. The initiative aimed to improve the coordination and management of spontaneous emergency volunteers through a recruitment, coordination and management service.
HelpOUT, including the Managers of Spontaneous Emergency Volunteers (MSEV) program, aimed to complement and support the vital role of state and local government in emergency management by capturing and better managing spontaneous volunteer offers, freeing up other resources in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.
The initiative is now entering a review phase, in consultation with the Victorian Government, to support the transition to a longer term sustainable model.
Volunteering Victoria has been working with the Victorian Government and other stakeholders to review the successes and lessons learned from the HelpOUT service, and to inform a longer term, sustainable model for the coordination and management of spontaneous emergency volunteers.
How you can help in an emergency:
The best thing to do is get involved with a local volunteer-based organisation well before a disaster strikes. That way you will already have all the necessary background checks and a membership with the volunteering group.
Local councils often rely on established volunteer-based organisations that can support and coordinate their own volunteers for relief and recovery efforts.
Become an emergency services volunteer
Victoria’s emergency services organisations – such as the CFA, MFB, Police, Red Cross and SES – deploy highly trained and skilled staff and volunteers to respond to immediate emergencies, e.g. putting out fires and rescuing people.
If you are interested in volunteering with the emergency services, don’t wait for an emergency. Join now so you can learn new skills before disasters occur:
Donations and fundraising
If you are not already involved in a local volunteer organisation making a cash donation to an official appeal or to a registered charity is the best way to help out.
Supporting your friends and family
Gather My Crew connects people in emergency situations – bushfires, floods, storms – to their community of friends and family in an easy and coordinated way so they can ask for, and receive, the practical support they actually need. Meals, transport, help with the kids, help with pets and more.
There are additional resources available to assist organisations in planning for spontaneous volunteers during emergencies:
- AIDR Handbook 12: Communities responding to disasters – planning for spontaneous volunteers
- National spontaneous volunteer strategy
- MSEV resources
- For weather information, visit the Bureau of Meteorology
- For emergency management alerts and information, visit Emergency Management Victoria
- Cleaning up after an emergency: Dealing with wind and water damage
Related info (side)