Your time, energy, and experience are needed. There are many ways to help your community become more resilient to disasters. Everyone has something to offer.


Volunteers in orange safety vests staff a booth at an outreach fair. A woman is talking to a community member about emergency toilets. Other volunteers in the background distribute poo and pee stickers at go on emergency bucket toilets.
Photo credit: Don Herd, Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET)


Community Emergency Response Team volunteers in green vests conduct a drill. A man in a vest escorts a volunteer who is pretending to be a disaster survivor.
Photo credit: Columbia County Emergency Management, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)


A Red Cross volunteer in a red and white vest sits on a cot with a woman and baby. They are talking and smiling.
Photo credit: American Red Cross


Medical Reserve Corps volunteers in blue vests conduct a drill. Two MRC volunteers are kneeling beside a cot and talking. A man is laying on the cot pretending to be injured.
Photo credit: Washington County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)


Two citizen patrol volunteers in bright yellow shirts are sanding with their bikes and talking to two children.
Photo credit: City of Vancouver Neighbors on Watch (NOW)


Trauma Intervention Program volunteers sit at and stand behind a TIP booth. They are seven men and women wearing blue and yellow vests and smiling.
Photo credit: Multnomah County




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

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.

Fire Corps

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 Bank

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.

Amateur Radio

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.