Emergency Volunteering | Spontaneous Volunteering in WA Project
Volunteering WA recognises that natural hazards are an inherent part of the Western Australian landscape and a risk that we must manage and cope with. Spontaneous emergency support volunteers play an essential role in disaster risk reduction, particularly when local skills and relationships can be harnessed.
Volunteering WA operates on emergency volunteering recruitment platform emergency.volunteer.org.au, which enables people to register their details to become a support volunteer during the response and recovery stages of an emergency or natural disaster. Over 4,573 people registered their details on the site during previous emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Wooroloo Bushfires, and Kimberley Floods to help collect donations and prepare food for affected families and frontline volunteers, clean and rebuild damaged communities, help care for displaced animals, and provide administrative support to response agencies.
Volunteering WA’s emergency volunteering program received a substantial funding boost through the Australian Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s National Disaster Risk Reduction (NDRR) 2022-23 Grant. The NDRR grant will provide Volunteering WA $320,000 over two years (October 2022 - 2024) to benefit the WA community and reduce the State’s disaster risk.
The key project deliverable is a streamlined spontaneous volunteer management system in WA and an upgraded emergency.volunteer.org.au platform that is integrated into emergency management settings at all levels and available to communities and response agencies during times of need.
The two-year project will:
- Develop policies and procedures to support the emergency.volunteer.org.au and Volunteering WA’s role in disaster risk reduction in WA;
- Integrate the emergency volunteering platform and volunteer management system into the plans, policies and procedures of emergency management in WA;
- Develop online training resources to assist in the attraction, recruitment and orientation of spontaneous volunteers across WA;
- Deliver a proactive large scale community awareness and communications campaign to prospective spontaneous emergency support volunteers and to organisations and community groups that respond during emergencies; and
- Develop, and formalise where required, trusted partnerships with key organisations who provide support to vulnerable people (including local government and large volunteer involving organisations) to support their role in disaster risk reduction.
The proactive nature of the project will strengthen community resilience. This need is particularly evident in regional areas, where due to the geographical size and low population density, regional communities are particularly vulnerable.
By working at both a systems level (across the community services sector) and a personal level (engaging with grassroots communities) this project will benefit all community groups, including at-risk and vulnerable people in those communities.
The steering committee includes representatives from Volunteering WA, Department of Communities, WALGA, Red Cross and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Emergency Services Project Coordinator, Volunteering WA