The idea that all disasters happen locally has been heavily stressed by Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To garner a better understanding of what its residents could contribute to disaster response and recovery, Adair County, Iowa, is surveying its citizens to determine their availability for volunteering and how they'd be interested in contributing.
Robert Kempf, emergency management coordinator of Adair County, said in the past the county has relied heavily on service clubs if it needed volunteer support. "With the more advanced planning that we try to do now, we've decided we should try to solicit more people instead of depending on the groups," he said. "In the rural areas, the same groups get called on again and again to help."
The emergency volunteer survey asks residents when they would be available and what type of help they're interested in doing -- food services, baby-sitting, clerical work, answering phones, etc. It also finds out of residents would be willing to donate the use of their chainsaws, tractors or other machinery that could be used to aid emergency response.
For more information, read Emergency Management magazine's article about Adair County's emergency volunteer survey.