Planning for the use of Spontaneous Disaster Volunteers   

Volunteering Queensland has developed extensive experience and partnerships in the volunteer and disaster sectors, over the past 11 years, through implementing the EV CREW program as well as community disaster resilience projects. This experience has helped identify the difficulties faced by Local Governments (LGs), Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMGs) and their partners in managing and coordinating spontaneous disaster volunteers.   

 At times of disaster, the community may offer their assistance. Managing these offers and this type of spontaneous volunteer can be challenging. In the past, whilst these activities have produced outstanding results for the community, they have at times unfortunately caused additional stress and hurt to the people they are trying to assist. In recognition of the challenges faced by local government authorities in planning for the management of spontaneous volunteers, Volunteering Queensland is building on learnings from the previous Building Local Capability to Manage Spontaneous Disaster Volunteers Project. This project resulted in the development of three (evolving) models that can be adopted to manage spontaneous disaster volunteers and training of local community groups in the management of spontaneous disaster volunteers.  In the next phase of the project, Volunteering Queensland is working with five local government authorities (LGA) of varying sizes and demographics to explore ways to develop council capability to establish plans and SOPs that to support local arrangements for the management of spontaneous disaster volunteers. 

 This workshop will highlight the key learnings from both projects to date and outline the planning considerations for the use of spontaneous volunteers in communities affected by disasters.  

Biography

Amanda manages Volunteering Queensland’s EV CREW Service and the Natural Disaster Resilience Projects.  These portfolio areas have a large focus on how volunteers can be utilised  before, during and after a disaster event.  

Amanda has over 20 years’ experience working with government, non-government and community. 10 of these years have been dedicated to developing community resilience and human and social recovery response in communities following disaster events.  Additionally, Amanda has valuable experience and insight into the development of volunteer management frameworks within a local government context and believes passionately in the strength that volunteers bring to the community.