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After Disaster Strikes

Wait For Instructions

  • Despite your generous instinct to "do something," it is easy to make matters worse by rushing to the scene (called "self-deploying") or collecting items for which there is no storage or distribution system.
  • Wait for instructions from those on the scene. Emergency resonse will determine what is needed both for skilled volunteers and supplies, then put out a call for assistance. This may take a few hours or a few days.

Be Ready to Volunteer  

  • Register with as a Disaster Service Volunteer. Complete the on-line application by indicating your skills, interests, and any certifications you may have.
  • Already registered with, log in and  update your contact information, skills, interests, and any certifications you may have.
  • To be visible to disaster-related organizations needing volunteers, click on "Allow agencies to match you to disaster projects."

Donate for Relief and Recovery

  • Cash is the preferred method because it offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover as well.
  • Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Make a donation