Community Emergency Response Teams
The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area. It trains them in basic disaster response, including fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. In Portland, the program is called Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET), and in Milwaukee it's called Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERT).
In addition to learning new skills, many CERTs/NETs/NERTs do outreach in their communities and create plans for how they'll respond during a disaster. Join a team and get involved in your neighborhood's planning. Some teams welcome everyone in their neighborhood to participate, even if they aren't trained. Learn more about CERT/NET/NERT programs in the Portland Metro Region, and sign up today.
American Red Cross
Volunteers are the backbone of the Red Cross Cascades Region. Residents from all parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington donate their time and compassion to their neighbors down the street and to strangers across the world. You can volunteer to donate blood, respond to local and international disasters, or help support the organization. There's a role for everyone!
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is an organization of volunteers who assist public health staff during an emergency. Volunteers participate in training activities, community outreach, and emergency response. Most MRC volunteers are licensed health and medical professionals, but some MRCs accept non-medical volunteers as well.
Citizen Patrol volunteers work with their local Police or Sheriff's office to help reduce crime, assist with community events, and assist police and fire personnel in the event of a disaster or other large-scale emergency.
- City of Gresham Citizen Volunteers in Policing (CVIP)
- City of Vancouver Neighbors on Watch (NOW)
- Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Citizen Patrol
Fire Corps lets people support their local Fire Department. It's not a volunteer firefighter program. It supports non-emergency projects, such as risk reduction and community education.
Search & Rescue
Volunteer Search & Rescue (SAR) teams assist local Sheriff's Offices. SAR team members are trained to locate missing persons and search for evidence in criminal investigations. They do ground searchers, air-scenting and tracking/trailing dog teams, dive teams, and Civil Air Patrol.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
There are many organizations that support our communities during a disaster. Many of them are members of State or County VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Please reach out to the member organizations of your area VOAD to see if there are volunteer opportunities that will fit your skills.
Trauma Intervention Program (TIP)
Trauma Intervention Program is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that those who are emotionally traumatized in emergency situations receive the assistance they need. During an emergency, volunteers are trained to assist family members, witnesses, and other bystanders who the emergency system often must leave behind.
Food Banks work with volunteers and partner organizations to distribute emergency food to hungry people. Individuals, families, and groups are encouraged to volunteer. People of all ages are welcome.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals to people who are unable to leave their homes. They rely on volunteers to deliver the meals and provide friendly visits to community members in need.
- Meals on Wheels People (Multnomah, Washington, and Clark Counties)
- Meals on Wheels (Clackamas County)
- Meals on Wheels (Columbia County)
- Loaves & Fishes (Portland)
Amateur radio (or HAM radio) will work even when modern communication devices fail. It often plays an important role during disasters. If you’re interested in getting your amateur radio license, visit the Amateur Radio Emergency Service website. To get involved in your local radio community, check out your County's program.