Opportunities to volunteer during crises

Ada City-County Emergency Services
April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week. The special week is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and joining the volunteer organizations that help make our community a great place to live. There are several volunteer opportunities that support disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Volunteering with these groups provides mutual benefits. First, individuals can contribute their unique skills to the benefit of the community before, during and after a disaster. Second, they can learn new skills through free training. Volunteers are trained in a variety of areas that will make them not only more useful to the group, but also better prepared personally.

Trained volunteers can provide support to first responders before, during and after a major event. They also provide shelter and food to those in need and help restore and improve the community post-disaster. Here are some examples of organizations that assist communities when needed.

Modern computer models help the National Weather Service predict and track weather events. However, trained weather spotters are still an important part of weather observation and warnings. Weather Spotter training is free; the next class in Ada County will be Wednesday, April 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is scheduled for the Public Safety Building, 7200 Barrister Drive in Boise. Meet in the lobby no later than 7 p.m. The class will be in the Ada County Emergency Operations Center.


The American Red Cross is active in many aspects that provide support to communities not only during a disaster, but also in the day-to-day needs. Red Cross volunteers receive a broad array of training that can include CPR, first aid or shelter management. They are a vital part of any disaster response and always in need of more volunteers.

Idaho Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (IDAVOAD) is an umbrella organization composed of a variety of charitable agencies. IDAVOAD functions include animal control, clean up, child care, building repair, clothing, communication, counseling, disaster welfare inquiry, damage assessment, financial assistance, food, human relations, mass care, sheltering, bulk distribution, transportation, volunteer staffing, and warehousing. Many people already belong to a group that has a disaster branch within the IDAVOAD.


Citizen Corps is a Federal program that partners groups together for both daily and disaster operations. In Ada County that includes the Medical Reserve Corps, Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers In Police Service and Community Emergency Response Teams.

Animals need food and shelter everyday and especially after a disaster rips through a community. The Idaho Humane Society (IHS) provides these much needed services both daily and in times of emergency. For information on how to become a volunteer with IHS call (208) 331-8553 or go to: idahohumanesociety.org

Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit (IMSARU) is an all-volunteer organization that is dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue and mountain safety education. They conduct operations throughout the year in and around Ada County.

To all those who volunteer, thank you! To all who would like to volunteer for one of the organizations listed above, welcome. We value your expertise and willingness to serve.

Published 4-6-2012