To: Emergency Communications Units - Information Bulletin
To: Emergency Management Agencies via Internet and Radio
By: Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) of the
California Governor's Office of Emergency Services
These bulletins are a continuation for those in government
who manage emergency response situations regarding the use
of volunteers and common concerns.
- As to not having time to supervise volunteers
- Can they be given jobs that don't need much supervision?
- Can a qualified volunteer supervise other volunteers?
- Can you screen them so they require little supervision?
- 7. "I don't need them"
In a way this is the most difficult concern for not using
volunteers, for it isn't really the "reason". Oh maybe if
your government hasn't had an emergency in the last 30
years, or if somewhere there is a government agency
that is so rich with funds that it never has a need for
further staff time or work, then maybe there is someone who
truly doesn't "need" volunteers. Few Emergency Management
Agencies have that luxury. They truly need further help
in various situations. Only where a government has been
lulled into a sleep mode by the lack of a disaster or a
real emergency for a decade or so do we see anyone who has
no "need" for the use of volunteers in emergency response,
at least in their own thinking. It may be that it takes a
real emergency to bring home to that agency or staffer that
he/she really does "need" community volunteers. More than
one EMA manager has been heard to say he/she learned that
the hard way.
- "I had a bad experience with one of them and swore never
to get involved with volunteers again"
This can be difficult even to discuss, for often the person
will not openly mention it. However, once they do state it
as their reason for not using volunteers, it can be with a
truly "closed mind" to the entire subject.
I worked with a person that captured in her mind an event
so strongly that it was as if it had just happened, when, in
fact, it was decades past. She was still experiencing the
event as a part of her physical and mental makeup, and it
affected her in ways she could not see. She had the option
to understand her reaction, honor it, then let it go, and
to move on, but had not done so. She had not yet discovered
that life has a way of presenting challenges to see what
we will do with them; further, that there is a principal
in each challenge that contains a hidden gift that only we
who have the experience can discover.
Applying this to an EMA official with an unsuitable experience
with a former volunteer, it is most likely that the underlying
emotions that were triggered by the event are still in control.
Only by one's own choice can the move beyond that be achieved.
Certainly it is extremely hard to think along those lines, much
less to do it. But once we move into that space in our thinking,
the opportunities (gifts) that cannot appear until we change
our perspective will, in fact, come to those who can take that
step in consciousness.
Cary Mangum, W6WWW - E-mail:
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a Landline BBS at 916-255-0798 (graphical & standard interface)