EMC263 - Use Volunteers? Y/N 6/6 (Release 11/13/00)

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.

  1. As to not having time to supervise volunteers
    1. Can they be given jobs that don't need much supervision?
    2. Can a qualified volunteer supervise other volunteers?
    3. Can you screen them so they require little supervision?

  2. 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.

  3. "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: [email protected]

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Submit suggestions, topics or comments on the bulletins to Cary Mangum, State ACS Officer, California. (W6WWW), [email protected] or [email protected]

Bulletins archives: ACS Web page: acs.oes.ca.gov, ftp.ucsd.edu/emcomm or ftp.oes.ca.gov/ACS/EMCOMM and a Landline BBS at 916-255-0798 (graphical & standard interface)


Page Last Updated, 09/08/02