This page is for those wishing to learn more about news, events, and opportunities related to the coordination of voluntary efforts and donations management before, during, and after disasters.
1st Annual Voluntary Organization Partnership Day
Washington, DC – On October 27, 2015, FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons (VALs), the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD), and the DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships co-hosted the 1st Annual Voluntary Organization Partnership Day. This unique event recognized the valuable services and support our voluntary, faith-based, and community partners provide to disaster survivors before, during, and after an event.
Professionals, academicians, students, and volunteers in emergency management, public administration, and related fields attended, joining FEMA staff to learn about and build relationships with partners across the whole community. Participants toured disaster response vehicles, met comfort dog teams, and strengthened our foundation for developing collaborative relationships moving forward.
Exhibitors and participants were welcomed in the morning by FEMA leadership – Beth Zimmerman, Associate Administrator of the Office of Response and Recovery, and Chris Smith, Director of Recovery’s Individual Assistance Division. Hundreds of people attended, and over 100 people participated in an afternoon Town Hall. Additionally, 158 visitors from 40 organizations participated in a demonstration of the National Mass Evacuation Tracking System (NMETS), conducted by FEMA’s Mass Care/Emergency Assistance staff.
NMETS is a simple evacuation tracking tool developed by FEMA and offered free to States, jurisdictions, or partner agencies to register and track government-assisted evacuees, pets, service animals, durable medical equipment, and personal belongings throughout the disaster evacuation cycle. The evacuation simulation involved enrolling voluntary participants (“evacuees”) with unique identifiers (barcoded wristbands). Each participant’s wristband was then scanned at up to seven stations to represent site departures (embarkation) and arrivals (debarkation). NMETS does not require dedicated computers to operate – four partners used their own computers to log into NMETS via a local server, and used FEMA’s barcode scanners to track “evacuees.” For more information on NMETS, please contact Mark Tinsman (email@example.com), Acting Section Chief, Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Section, FEMA Individual Assistance.
A special thank you to the inaugural event’s 36 exhibitors, which included National and State VOAD member organizations, other whole community partners involved in disaster response and recovery, and FEMA components.
Read more about Partnership Day on the FEMA Blog. If you would like to share your experiences or photos from this event, or want to learn more, please search or post on social media using hashtag #VOPD15, or contact AC Claud (firstname.lastname@example.org), Voluntary Agency Liaison, FEMA Individual Assistance.
Keep up with News, Events, and Opportunities
There are various ways to learn about events and opportunites related to your geographic or topical area of interest.
Connect with others regarding your geographic or topical area of interest, such as your local or state emergency management agency, Regional Voluntary Agency Liaison, and additional organizations and networks. Organizations often promote events and opportunities for their community of interest via their website and social media accounts.
For example, the ADA National Network and FEMA have partnered to deliver a monthly webinar series: Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. The webinar schedule and descriptions are available online.
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- Learn how the VALs can help your organization Get Involved in disaster response and recovery.
- Gain access to a variety of useful Resources.
- Discover Training opportunities for your organization and volunteers.
The Voluntary Agency Liaison mission is to establish, foster, and maintain relationships among government, voluntary, faith-based, and community partners to strengthen capabilities and support the delivery of inclusive, equitable services by empowering communities to address disaster-related unmet needs.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
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