Massachusetts VOAD Preparing for Disaster

Framingham Patch

Posted by Kevin Hall , June 04, 2014 at 06:25 PM
VOAD at MEMA Headquarters in Framingham
VOAD at MEMA Headquarters in FraminghamFRAMINGHAM – Members of Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster ( MA VOAD www.massvoad.org) met today for their monthly meeting at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency bunker in preparation for future disaster.

“VOAD likes to meet at MEMA and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) facilities as we coordinate with both government agencies before, during and after disastrous situations,” said Steve Napoli, MA VOAD Chair and member of the American Red Cross. “While the government mostly works on infrastructure with some attention on individual assistance,VOAD in the coalition of non-profits and churches that pull together to assist disaster victims wherever possible.”

Ironically, part of the meeting’s agenda was to replace Napoli as the current chair as the coalition likes to limit Board positions to two years.

The other two MA VOAD positions are Vice-chair and Secretary. The Vice-chair operates the disaster recovery actions, coordination with other groups, quality of help given and public affairs. The Secretary is in charge of pulling together and organizing new organizational members, the abilities so help that each group brings to the table and MA VOAD’s finances.

All Board positions other organizational positions are voluntary. Recent MA VOAD Board members have been from organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Church of Scientology and Boston Cares. Several other organizations and churches have held Board positions in the past and MA VOADintends to expand the leadership roles further.

Interestingly, the VOAD member organizations in Massachusetts and around the country are far more known to the general public than the coalition itself.  While people may not be familiar with VOAD, they are certainly more likely to know about the United Way, Catholic Charities, Southern Baptists and many of the other members.

“MA VOAD has a lot of groups that help people in many ways and give different amounts of attention on disaster preparation, relief and long term recovery,” said Napoli. “The trick is to efficiently coordinate our actions with each other and government agencies when disaster strikes so that we can help as many people as possible.”

Along with the monthly meetings, MA VOAD incorporates an extensive organizational chart that can be found in the “About” section of their website. The purpose of the chart is to define all the state VOAD activities while listing the people is in charge of each function. “In this manner, members know what types of work they are to do before, during and after disaster strikes while making coordination much easier,” said Napoli.

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