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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

What voluntary and community groups can do

Find out what voluntary and community groups can do to prepare for emergencies, and how the emergency services and other responders are working closely with the voluntary sector.

Voluntary sector partners

Voluntary sector partners are some of the main voluntary sector organisations that the emergency services and other responders are working with to prepare for emergencies. To find out more follow the link below.

Becoming a volunteer

There are many voluntary organisations and varied activities that form an important part of being prepared for an emergency.

If you would like to volunteer, contact your local voluntary organisations, which include the British Red Cross and the Territorial Army. For more information contact the organisations listed below.

Or you can find out about and search for a volunteering opportunity by following the link below.

How voluntary and community groups can get involved

Voluntary and community groups can get involved with, and play an important part in, preparing for emergencies and response work.

Voluntary sector engagement at the national level

At the national level, the voluntary sector has developed a co-ordinated approach to planning its contribution to preparing for emergencies.

A Voluntary Sector Civil Protection Working Party and Forum have been organised by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat and the British Red Cross.

The aim of the working party and forum is to identify and maximise the voluntary sector contribution to UK civil protection arrangements. There are currently 20 voluntary organisations with a national or UK-wide civil protection role that are members of the forum. The forum provides links between the voluntary sector, central government and statutory authorities.

The National Voluntary Aid Societies' Emergency Committee (NVASEC) exists to co-ordinate the auxiliary role of the three voluntary aid societies: the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and St Andrew's First Aid.

NVASEC ensures that the voluntary aid societies develop coherent policies which fit with the overarching framework established by central government. It also allows the voluntary aid societies to engage in an efficient way with the representative bodies of local responder organisations.

Voluntary sector engagement at the regional level

At the regional level, a representative of the voluntary sector forms part of the core membership of Regional Resilience Forums. The representative forms a bridge between the Voluntary Sector Civil Protection Working Party, NVASEC and the local level.

You can find your nearest Regional Resilience Forum on the UK Resilience website.

In some circumstances, emergencies can overstretch the resources of the emergency services, local authorities and other local responders. The voluntary sector has an important role to play in supporting the statutory services in response to some emergencies.

The statutory agencies will be aware of the kinds of services the voluntary sector can offer, and will involve them in local planning arrangements when appropriate. So, for example, search and rescue or humanitarian support may be built into the response arrangements. In addition, the statutory agencies may use voluntary organisations to backfill some services that would be undermined by the diversion of resources to deal with the direct consequences of a major incident.

The voluntary sector can provide support in a number of generic areas: welfare; social and psychological aftercare; medical support; search and rescue; transport, and communications, for example by providing interpreters.

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Additional links

Preparing for emergencies booklet

The booklet is available to download in a number of languages

Useful contacts

Websites and phone numbers to help you prepare for an emergency

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