Organization-Based Incident Management: Developing a Disaster Volunteer Role on a University Campus
Catastrophic events are an ongoing part of life, affecting society both locally and globally. Recruitment, development, and retention of volunteers who offer their knowledge and skills in the event of a disaster are essential to ensuring a functional workforce during catastrophes. These opportunities also address the inherent need for individuals to feel necessary and useful in times of crisis. Universities are a particularly important setting for voluntary action, given that they are based in communities and have access to resources and capabilities to bring to bear on an emergency situation.
The purpose of the study was to discern how one large private organization might participate and respond in the case of a large scale disaster. Using a 2-phase random sample survey, 337 unique respondents (5.7%) out of a sample of 6000 replied to the survey. These data indicate that volunteers in a private organization are willing to assist in disasters and have skills that can be useful in disaster mitigation.
Much is to be learned related to the deployment of volunteers during disaster. These findings suggest that volunteers can and will help and that disaster preparedness drills are a logical next step for university-based volunteers.