About Disaster Corps

The California Volunteers Disaster Corps is a first-in-the-nation effort to professionalize, standardize and coordinate highly trained disaster volunteers statewide. This program will harness the power and passion of Californians to ensure our communities are safer, stronger and more resilient. California Volunteers developed the Disaster Corps program and the Disaster Volunteer Resource Inventory (DVRI) in partnership with California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) to integrate volunteer resources into the state’s emergency management system.

What is California Volunteers Disaster Corps?

  • A cadre of 1,000 government-affiliated volunteers that meet Disaster Corps training, typing, certification, and security screening guidelines.
  • Disaster Corps volunteers represent a mutual aid resource that can be utilized statewide.
  • All program participants will have received a Department of Justice/FBI background check and First Aid/CPR training.
  • Disaster Corps volunteers will be registered by their local government organization under the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program, which provides worker’s compensation coverage for volunteers.

Disaster Volunteer Resource Inventory (DVRI)

In order to better coordinate the wide variety of trained volunteers in times of disaster, California Volunteers developed the Disaster Volunteer Resource Inventory, a web-based IT tool to coordinate and support public, private, and non-profit volunteer programs.

California Volunteers will provide secure access to the system, free of charge to:

  • Disaster Corps programs
  • Non-governmental organizations active in disaster
  • Local and state emergency managers and volunteer program coordinators

The DVRI will enable volunteer programs to more effectively manage their volunteer resources

  • The DVRI can maintain individual contact information, as well as training history, deployment history and availability, credentialing information, language skills and other pertinent information
  • Personal information for individual volunteers is only available to the volunteer’s program coordinator
  • Emergency managers at the local, county, regional, and state levels will be able to:
    • See aggregate volunteer capacity information such as how many disaster volunteers are available for deployment
    • Search the database for a particular skill or capacity, such as a language skill
    • Track total program volunteer hours served, by event or by calendar period
  • California Volunteers will serve as the system administrator with appropriate password and security protection
  • California Volunteers will provide training and technical assistance to all system users

Disaster Corps Background

In the aftermath of the 2007 Southern California Wildfires and Cosco Busan Oil Spill, thousands of disaster volunteers poured into affected areas to assist with evacuations, sheltering, clean-up and a host of other activities supporting response operations.

Governor Schwarzenegger recognized a need to more effectively integrate and coordinate disaster volunteer efforts in all phases of emergency management, from disaster preparedness and extending through disaster response and recovery. Currently, disaster volunteer resources are not integrated into the State Emergency Plan and are spread across a multitude of different organizations and programs, varying in function and mission.

In February 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Karen Baker to serve as the nation’s first Secretary of Service and Volunteering. He charged Baker and her office, California Volunteers, with developing a framework to help integrate volunteers into the state’s emergency management system.

The Disaster Corps initiative has been built collaboratively from the ground up through public-private partnerships and with a wide range of subject matter experts including representatives from all levels of government, local emergency managers, state agency volunteer coordinators, and leaders in non-governmental volunteer programs.

Deloitte LLP provided $750,000 in pro-bono consulting services, including project management, stakeholder analysis and communications support to develop the program.

The Home Depot Foundation has committed a nearly $60,000 grant for disaster-related supplies in support of the Disaster Corps.