Emergency Management

Integrating volunteering cultures in New Zealand’s multi-hazard environment

Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, 2020.

“This research explores different approaches to support informal volunteering and how it contributes to rural communities in New Zealand. In doing so, the practical aspects are considered to integrate informal and formal volunteers and to identify lessons for inclusion. The paper, more specifically, examines how informal volunteer activities could contribute more to rural community resilience before, during, and after emergency events. Moreover, strategies are identified for integrating formal and informal volunteering as part of building community resilience to emergencies and local hazards. This research also provides some insights that can help volunteer organisations and managers in realising the importance of attracting a diverse range of volunteers, before and after emergency events. This would result in community resilience and improved use of social innovations for formal and informal volunteer organisation. The research indicates that volunteer participation is a critical element of emergency services activities, especially in rural areas. Effective use of volunteers requires understanding their motivations and utilising appropriate recruitment and retention strategies. This is particularly important as formal or informal volunteers provide critical and different types of services that go beyond traditional roles for readiness, reduction and recovery operations and activities”

COVID-19 and its Impact on Volunteering: Moving Towards Virtual Volunteering

Leisure Sciences, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way volunteers have been contributing to organizational or event operations. The social distancing measures mean the traditional form of volunteering is threatened as this typically occurs with individuals fulfilling their activities in-person. This paper explores opportunities and challenges of virtual volunteering as a means to assist organizations and events during the pandemic and beyond. Virtual volunteering creates and increases the accessibility of such events but there are some managerial challenges and implications that need to be addressed. After addressing these opportunities and challenges, the paper goes on to discuss how virtual volunteering can create leisure opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond that.”

“Assigning spontaneous volunteers to relief efforts under uncertainty in task demand and volunteer availability” and “The optimal assignment of spontaneous volunteers”

NC State University, 2020.

These two studies summarise guidelines and provide useful tools for the effective use of volunteers during emergency response or recovery and relief operations. These kinds of volunteer efforts are characterised by coordination difficulties resulting from a range of uncertainties. If one considers food distribution, for instance, there might not be reliable information around how much food supplies are available to distribute or how many people will need assistance. After acknowledging these uncertainties, the researchers have used advanced computational models to develop guidelines, or rules of thumb, that volunteer managers can use to help volunteers make the most significant difference. The resulting model can help volunteer managers to determine the optimal assignments of volunteers to various tasks when the exact amount of work is unknown. The model was then used to create a set of guidelines that can be applied even when volunteer managers do not have access to computers or the internet.

The thread that binds: Volunteerism and community resilience 

United Nations Volunteers, 2018.

The 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report “looks at how volunteerism and community resilience interact across diverse contexts. It explores the strengths and limitations of community responses to a range of shocks and stresses, and it examines how external actors can build on communities’ self-organization in a complementary way, nurturing the most beneficial characteristics of volunteerism while mitigating against potential harms to the most vulnerable.”

The voice of the family: Research with families of volunteers

Duckworth, Sally; Sinko, Jaci. Litmus, May 2017.

This report recommends practical solutions that Fire and Emergency New Zealand can implement to support families of volunteers. It summarises how families support volunteers to serve their communities, and the impact volunteering has on families. It summarises families’ experiences of social activities and support from the brigade and Chief Fire Officers (CFOs). 

Helping the helpers: Assisting staff and volunteer workers before, during, and after disaster relief operations
Quevillon, Randal P., et al. Journal of Clinical Psychology, December 2016.

This article emphasises the role of both individual and management participation and commitment to relief worker support and positive experience in disaster relief operations  (DROs) and provides suggestions for doing so. 

Centralised coordination of spontaneous emergency volunteers: The EV CREW model
McLennan, Blythe; Molloy, Julie; Whitaker, Joshua; Handmer, John. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 2016.

This paper presents spontaneous volunteering as an empowering and legitimate component of recovery and resilience and, when coordinated appropriately, it adds value to recovery, is rewarding for volunteers, and reduces associated risks for volunteers, recipient organisations and communities. It also emphasises that central coordination does not replace traditional emergency management volunteering nor informal helping behaviour and emergent volunteerism.

Volunteer coordination in CDEM: Director’s guideline for Civil Defence emergency management groups
Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, 2013.

This report provides a broad overview of volunteer coordination, with a particular focus on Civil-Defence-Emergency-Management-trained volunteers (community members who are registered, screened and trained during readiness), and spontaneous volunteers (who emerge during response).

Studying social technologies and communities of volunteers in emergency management
Herranz, Sergio; Diaz, Paloma; Diez, David; Aedo, Ignacio. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Communities and Technology, Munich, Germany, 2013.

This study posits that communities of volunteers are fundamental agents in the emergency management process. It suggests that: “in spite of the unquestionable value that social technologies could bring to such communities of volunteers it is not clear whether they are exploiting all their potential and why.” The results of the study suggest the need to address specific design challenges related to reliability, integrity, and efficient analysis of information.

Factors influencing the successful integration of ambulance volunteers and first responders into ambulance services
O’Meara, Peter; Tourle, Vianne; Rae, John. Health & Social Care in the Community, 2012.

This study identifies the factors associated with the successful integration of ambulance volunteers and first responders into major ambulance services in Australia and New Zealand and then proposes a model of volunteer management for ambulance services. 

Glimpses of a better world: The role of tangata whenua, community & voluntary sector in the Canterbury earthquake recovery
Nowland-Foreman, Garth. 2011.

This is Garth Nowland-Foreman’s address at the Our Future Community and Voluntary Sector Forum, hosted by Council of Social Services Christchurch and Te Runaka ki Otautahi Kai Tahu, in Christchurch on 28 July 2011. An excerpt from the speech: “One of the tribute songs written following the Canterbury earthquake includes the line ‘We are not heroes; we are a team’. In the aftermath of our quakes, who could be failed to be moved by so many people suddenly becoming altruistic, resilient, resourceful, and brave, stirred and motivated by a newfound sense of community and purpose. We have seen glimpses of a better world.”

Spontaneous volunteer management resource kit
Australian Red Cross, 2010.

This paper includes a framework and supporting materials that aim to help better manage spontaneous volunteers in an emergency, regardless of whether they are used.

Describing the value of the contribution from the volunteer fire brigade
PricewaterhouseCoopers (NZ). New Zealand Fire Service Commission, December 2009.

This research examines the economic and social value of volunteer fire brigades in small remote communities in New Zealand. Based on desk research, a survey and interviews, it describes and measures the non-monetary benefits that a volunteer fire brigade contributes to these communities and estimates the economic value added to them. 

CDEM Competency Framework Technical Standard [TS 02/09]
Civil Defence Emergency Management, 2009.

The CDEM Competency Framework is a technical standard under the CDEM Act 2002 and contains: an overview of the background and purpose of the framework, the eight key areas of CDEM competency and the levels of relevance and proficiency of competencies across a number of CDEM roles.

Report on the attraction, support and retention of emergency management volunteers: Executive summary
Esmond, Judy. Commonwealth of Australia, 2009.

The aim of the Volunteer Action Plan is to outline options to enhance the attraction, support and retention of emergency management volunteers. The Plan proposes 11 national actions to enhance volunteer attraction, support and retention. The proposed actions have been prioritised into three categories (top priority, medium priority and lower priority), according to feedback received during a consultation process with the jurisdictions and volunteer peak bodies.

Mental health needs of disaster volunteers: a plea for awareness

Adams, Lavonne. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, February 2007.

In this report, the author posits that disaster response volunteers may experience mental health needs, particularly following extended or multiple deployments. This article attempts to heighten the awareness of psychiatric mental health nurses regarding mental health needs of disaster volunteers.

State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer members : An investigation into coping abilities and adjustment strategies following emergency activations
Shipley, Felicity; Gow, Kathryn. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 2006.

This paper examines the individual utilisation of coping abilities and adjustment strategies of State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer members following stressful incident call-outs. It also reports on the range of idiosyncratic individualised coping abilities and deliberate adjustment strategies of SES volunteer members.