Volunteers are needed for Broome County COAD’s annual disaster exercise. Volunteers will take part in operating a Volunteer Reception Center during a mock-disaster scenario and learn how to process large numbers of unaffiliated volunteers. No skills or training required. Click here to see photos from our 2015 exercise.


Saturday, September 24th, 8am-1pm or 10am-1pm (depending on volunteer assignment). Lunch is provided!


Southern Tier Independence Center, 135 E Frederick St, Binghamton, NY 13904


Anyone! Community members, COAD member agencies, non-member agencies from the public or private sector, anyone with an interest in disaster relief are welcome to participate. Pre-registration is required.


Online registration only. Register by submitting the Google Form embedded below, or at https://goo.gl/forms/dBMmS3L7wMsHDMc73

Learn more about disaster volunteers and Volunteer Reception Centers below.

Disaster volunteers can be divided into two broad categories: Affiliated Volunteers and Spontaneous Volunteers. Affiliated Volunteers are volunteers who are attached to a recognized voluntary agency that has trained them for disaster response, and has a mechanism in place to manage them in an emergency.

Spontaneous Volunteers

Spontaneous Volunteers are volunteers who can be local or come from outside the impacted area. They have skills and sometimes are trained, but are not currently affiliated with a recognized disaster relief organization. Spontaneous volunteers are a cost-effective resource during response and short-term recovery operations. They offer a wide range of expertise and experience, as they come from different walks of life, different cultures, and different places. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of volunteers will show up to help. Harvesting their passion and skills will build the community’s capacity to respond. Successfully utilizing spontaneous volunteers requires planning by the agencies that will receive them and by the community as a whole.

What is a Volunteer Reception Center (VRC)?

A Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) is a specified location where unaffiliated volunteers can go to be assigned to an appropriate volunteer opportunity during a disaster recovery. Broome County COAD has taken on the role of coordinating a VRC on behalf of Broome County Office of Emergency Services and this exercise will test the process. VRCs are typically run by volunteer staff from community organizations who fulfill specific job positions. At the VRC, spontaneous/unaffiliated volunteers will:

  1. Complete a registration form and sign a general release of liability statement.
  2. Accept a referral to an organization needing their services (Referral includes a description of their duties and complete address and contact information for the agency to which they have been referred).
  3. Receive a form of identification approved by local officials.
  4. Participate in a safety briefing.
  5. Agree in writing to follow all safety instructions and directions from supervisors at their work sites.

Agency Responsibilities

Agencies requesting or receiving volunteers from the VRC should use generally accepted procedures for managing volunteers, including the provision of:

  • Orientation to the organization and the volunteer position
  • Job training to prepare the volunteer for the work expected of him/her
  • Safety training specifically related to the position
  • Supervision and feedback on the volunteer’s efforts
  • Recognition for the assistance the volunteer provided to the organization and disaster survivors