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Disaster Services

National Service programs helps communities across the nation prepare, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters, from forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills. Participants in National Service programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. UServeUtah also plays and active role in Disaster Services

Recently, Governor Gary Herbert signed a declaration making 2014 a year of service to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of UServeUtah and to challenge citizens to serve their communities. Throughout this year of service we will focus on several major areas of volunteerism and National Service with the goal of inspiring more citizens to volunteer. For our Disaster Services focus area we have highlighted the great work being done by Utah volunteers and outlined ways you can get involved:

Organizations and Project Ideas

  • Coordinate a community training on emergency preparedness and help community members assemble 72-hour kits.
  • Make a family readiness plan in case of a disaster.  Learn about specific plans for your children and pets.
  • Learn more about volunteering in a disaster and how you can best help your community.
  • Find a place to volunteer and pre-affiliate before disaster strikes.
  • Check out the organizations listed below to find a place to help your community prepare for disaster.

Volunteer. Help Utah prepare for a disaster.

UCCThe Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) AmeriCorps program, housed in Logan, Utah, has AmeriCorps members which work in partnership with state and federal land management agencies. Members complete needed statewide conservation projects. Many of the AmeriCorps members are also certified first responders and the program is registered and available for deployment in theevent of emergency or disaster situations anywhere in the US. Find out more about volunteering with UCC.

The Red Cross Utah Preparedness and Response Corps (UPRC) is designed to  support a commitment to community resilience through three primary activities: Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Response and Capacity Building. Using evidence-based successful Red Cross interventions such as Community Disaster Education Programs and Disaster Services deliveryAMBER GIVING INSTRUCTIONS mechanisms, AmeriCorps members and the volunteers they recruit and train serve in four different cities, and will increase Utah’s resiliency by ensuring residents are prepared for disasters of all types.  Volunteer opportunities are available in Disaster Preparedness & Disaster Response. Those interested in applying can submit an application online. The Red Cross is also recruiting AmeriCorps members for its 2015 program year. Applicants interested in educating communities in how to be prepared for disasters should contact Kristy Denlein at kristy.denlein@redcross.org.

IMG_0027Be Ready Utah is the outreach and education arm of the Utah Division of Emergency Management. Be Ready Utah undertakes many different efforts to help people get better prepared for emergencies and get more involved in community resilience. The Be Ready Utah staff provides emergency preparedness materials to the public by staffing fair booths and giving presentations in many different communities, churches, and businesses. In addition to helping citizens get ready, Be Ready Utah has other areas of focus: Be Ready Business, Be Ready Schools, and Be Ready Communities. They provide business with information needed to create Continuity of Operations plans and help form public and private relationships for times of disaster. They provide educators with materials to help instill in the youth the importance of preparedness. They help communities create and build organizations in which people can volunteer to help create vigilant and prepared communities. Those are Citizen Corps programs, and they include Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Fire Corps, and Neighborhood Watch. Learn more about each of these programs below. For more information on volunteering for any of the organizations’ above please click here.

The Volunteers in Police Service Program (VIPS) provides support and resources for agencies interested in developing or enhancing a volunteer program and for citizens who wish to volunteer their time and skills with a community law enforcement agency. The program’s ultimate goal is to enhance the capacity of state, local, campus, tribal, and territorial law enforcement to utilize volunteers. The VIPS staff shares information and resources with law enforcement agencies that want to expand their programs, increase the use of volunteers in existing programs, and help citizens learn about and become involved in  the VIPS program. Find out how to get involved here.

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) supplements existing hospital, public health and emergency Disastercroppedmedical systems when they are overwhelmed. In an earthquake, for example, as much as 85 percent of the people who flock to hospitals don’t need urgent emergency care. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers can help reduce that surge. Volunteers also help with public health education campaigns, flu shot clinics and disease investigations. Each local health department in Utah hosts a Medical Reserve Corps program. If you are interested, please click here to find the unit in your area.

photogalleryFire Corps assists fire/EMS departments as well as the community. As a volunteer with Fire Corps, you give  back to your community by helping increase the capacity of your local fire/EMS department, assist with vital non-emergency operations of the department, and provide the department with an important link to the community. Citizens can help in a variety of ways. There are many necessary tasks that can be performed by community members in the fire and emergency services every day. From creating web sites, to maintaining vehicles, to conducting life safety education programs and providing administrative help, the list is endless. If you are interested in volunteering for Utah Fire Corps visit them online.

VOAD is made up of various organizations that share an interest in collaborating during a disaster. Most of these organizations recruit, train and prepare volunteers in advance of a disaster to serve in vital response and recovery roles. Find out more online.

CERT ExerciseCERT prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster.  As a member of a CERT team, you can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training.  CERT teams are known and trusted resources to emergency responders and their communities. Find out more about volunteering with CERT here.


Citizen Corps
is FEMA’s grassroots strategy to bring together government and community leaders to involve citizens in emergency preparedness and resilience. Citizen Corps asks you to embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.

Volunteers Impact Utah’s ability to respond to a disaster:

  • The Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps program trained 105 AmeriCorps members in wilderness medicine training (either Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder course)pillowcase 050 in 2014. These members stand at the ready to serve in the event of a disaster in Utah or across the United States.
  • In Utah there are currently 65 Citizen Corps Councils which serve 1,607,882 people or 72% of Utah’s population.
  • AmeriCorps Red Cross volunteers educated over 15,000 community members in disaster preparedness.