www.bostoncares.org is where you would go to assist with Hurricane Irene Disaster Response. Simply fill out the Volunteer information and Boston Cares will field requests for help from emergency management officials and others in need of help and contact those of you who post the skills required to help. You will not likely be contacted on an immediate basis as government emergency response may need various roads closed to fix live wires and to remove debris. In the meantime, there are likely to be several neighbors, such as handicapped and elderly citizens, who could use a hand from you. Emergency response always starts on a local level first.
If you need help, you would call 211.
Below is the exact report put together today by MA VOAD to MEMA with nothing filtered. As you can see, the response is pretty much under control. The couple kinks you see that need to be worked out will be.
MA VOAD Board of Directors
Massachusetts VOAD ESF 15 Actions for Hurricane Irene
(ESF 15 is Emergency Support Function 15 and deals with donation and volunteer management)
1. ESF 15 coverage.
Lace Armstrong Garland (Boston Cares – MA VOAD organization) will have volunteers who live near Framingham covering the desk Sunday and Monday as volunteers from further away may have too difficult a commute during a hurricane. Further desk coverage will be worked out. Paula Farrales (Red Cross – a MA VOAD organization) has experience on the desk and is willing to help and Kevin Hall (Church of Scientology Disaster Response – a MA VOAD organization) has at least one volunteer able to help. We will have it covered.
2. Volunteer Management.
With All Hands Volunteers (a MA VOAD organization) currently working on North Dakota, Lace and Boston Cares will handle volunteer management. She’s worked with All Hands in the past and understands its workings. She also has a United Way ( a MA VOAD organization ) contact and the contact for Katherine Clements of All Hands who can assist her on any details.
The flow is to promote that volunteers contact the United Way’s 211 service and fill out volunteer information. United Way would call Boston Cares for requested help. Boston Cares would call the volunteers per their listed qualifications and refer them to where help is being requested. Like All Hands, Boston Cares also has legal waivers for their volunteers to protect from law suits.
3. Volunteer Intake Center(s).
Chris Farrand (Salvation Army) is going to work on setting this up. Centers would be set up accordance to storm needs. This way volunteers could sign up in person as well as online. Trainings for volunteers for activities like mud outs could be done in these locations. Although much of the Salvation Army will be in the field, Chris is going to check and see if the Worcester Salvation Army and possibly their Springfield and Sharon offices could be used. Boston Cares volunteers could run the intake centers as Lace has about 30 volunteers she can use. What’s done depends on space availability and needs depending on storm damage.
4. Donations of money and goods.
This isn’t worked out yet and we will need some FEMA and MEMA assistance. During the tornadoes recently, a disaster relief account was set up within United Way Tri County. We don’t have the information on whether this could be used for needed emergency supplies as requested during hurricane response. We also don’t know whether people could donate to the same account for the hurricane relief or if that account is only toward the tornado.
During the tornadoes, a donation matrix was set up but I don’t know of it being utilized or if any MA VOAD groups really knew how to use it as it was a little complicated and the training offered was at MEMA and couldn’t be done with simple online instructions as far as I know.
5. Media and Promotion.
Kevin is going to promote a story on the www.massvoad.org website on the workings of VOAD regarding the disaster relief and where and how people can apply to help and expected to be contacted. He will also turn over any requests to help to Lace at Boston Cares. Once the MA VOAD Volunteer Intake Centers area set up, Kevin will send a short press release to the media and ask Peter Judge (MEMA), through Mike Philbin (MEMA) to promote this to the media to ensure the public knows what to do.
6. Other MA VOAD activities.
I don’t have all the details, but several MA VOAD members will be out doing their own disaster response activities. The Red Cross will have about five shelters and the Salvation Army will have shelters, food and clothing. Southern Baptists will likely have chain saw crews. The animal response groups (MA VOAD organizations SMART and IFAW and pending organization Central MA DART) will be active and other churches like Lutheran Social Services ( a MA VOAD organization) will physically and emotionally be assisting people as usual. Boston Food Bank (MA VOAD organization) and Feeding America (MA VOAD organization) will be getting food. The MA VOAD Associates like ABLE911 and Walgreens will also be contacted in needed. I apologized to those MA VOAD members who may be active and I have left out.
7. Long Term Recovery.
Three long term recovery groups are set up(mainly through FEMA) already in Western, MA and several MA VOAD organizations are involved in these as they were in the floods last year.
8. Other Help.
National Voad is sending MA VOAD two Americorps full time workers to assist on the MA VOAD disaster relief efforts early next week. They will be stationed around Framingham and their costs are covered.
Kevin Hall/Secretary MA VOAD