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Disaster Volunteering FAQ

  • How long will I be at the disaster site? You will be expected to serve for at least one shift, and may be there longer, depending on the circumstances and level of need.
  • What things should I bring with me? Don't forget medications, and you should bring whatever you need for your basic needs – there is no guarantee they will be provided.
  • Is transportation provided? No transportation is provided to the site unless it is a protected site. In that event, transportation may be provided to the protected site.
  • What is VOAD (Maine Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster): VOAD Is a forum where Maine organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle—preparation, response and recovery—to help disaster survivors and their communities. NVOAD is the national organization. Visit MainePrepares to learn more about emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. This site includes the latest news on emergency management issues, as well as current safety information. You can use it to look at emergency management preparedness for home and family, businesses, schools, and community. The site is provided by MEMA (Maine Emergency Management Agency).
  • What is FEMA? This is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Its mission is to work with agencies, states and citizens to build, sustain and improve the nation's capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from all hazards.
  • What is MEMA? The Maine Emergency Management Agency, the state of Maine agency that is responsible for lessening the effects of disaster on it citizens and to support the four phases of emergency management – mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
  • What is NERT? This is the National Emergency Response Team, established after Hurricane Andrew in 1993. Today NERT is involved with equipment procurement, manufacturing, training, gathering of food and clothing, grants, equipment maintenance, and education programs for children and adults. It is staffed by volunteers.
  • What is NOAA? This is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the United States Department of Commerce. This agency provides citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, climate monitoring, and other services. To look at NOAA services in Maine, go to What kind of training will I get before being deployed to a disaster site? You will be given a safety briefing at the Volunteer Reception Center, as well as job specific training either at the Volunteer Reception Center or on-site.

Much of this information is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) in their brochure "When Disaster Strikes. . . How to Donate or Volunteer Successfully!" L217/August 2007. For more information about FEMA please see and for National VOAD see