The Emergency Volunteer Center

Santa Barbara County is blessed with an abundance of volunteers who want to help when disasters strike. However, in past disasters, disaster-response organizations have been unable to utilize many of the unaffiliated volunteers who showed up at their doors wanting to help. At the same time, organizations in need of volunteers have not always been able to get all the volunteers that they needed.

To organize the outpouring of good will during disasters, we have created the Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC), which springs into action when a disaster strikes to serve as a central location for volunteers to connect with organizations that can use their help.

Our member organizations have a special relationship with the EVC. Well in advance of a disaster, we:

  • Determine our member organizations’ anticipated needs and resources.
  • Document their procedures for accepting new volunteers.
  • Collect the intake forms they use to register new volunteers.

This information is incorporated into the EVC deployment kit, so, when a disaster strikes, the EVC registrars can quickly:

  • Match volunteers with our member organizations’ needs and requirements.
  • Direct each volunteer to report to the appropriate organization with the organization’s volunteer intake forms already completed.

As our community-based organizations swing into action in response to a disaster, the EVC tracks volunteer needs and assignments in real time. This helps ensure that volunteers are optimally deployed to meet the community’s needs in a disaster.

To find out about volunteering at the Emergency Volunteer Center in a disaster or connect your organization with the Center, email us.

Emergency Volunteer Center Guidance

It is strongly recommended that EVC staff participate in a 2 – 3 hour training program before the EVC is activated. Contact the VOAD Coordinator to arrange for a training session.

Download the documents below to activate and run an Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC).

The following materials are available for training new EVC staff members:

Guidance from FEMA on managing spontaneous volunteers in a disaster is available here: