301 East 12th St. - Sweetwater, Texas 79556

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

The United States has a long history of volunteerism—a history that has gotten stronger since the terrorist attacks of September 11. People of all ages and with all types of skills volunteer—and, with the President´s emphasis on volunteerism, the current trend can be expected to continue.

What is a volunteer? A volunteer is an individual who, beyond the confines of paid employment and normal responsibilities, contributes time and service to assist in the accomplishment of a mission. (American Red Cross)

People volunteer for a number of reasons, including wanting to:

  • Give back.
  • Share their abilities.
  • Develop new skills.
  • See a mission accomplished.
  • Network with people.

The reasons people volunteer are as broad as the type of people who volunteer.

Types of Volunteers

Volunteers can be classified into four categories:

1. Professional. These are volunteers who are licensed or have a specialized skill. Professional volunteers include medical service providers such as physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians; mental health professionals; lawyers; building contractors and inspectors; computer technicians; clergy; accountants, etc. These people may volunteer individually or as a group.

2. Unskilled. These volunteers do not already have the skills that could be useful to emergency management programs, but they do offer their time and can be trained.

3. Spontaneous. These are people who volunteer in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or an emergency. They may be skilled or unskilled and may be from the affected area or from outside the area. Channeling spontaneous volunteers—especially if they present in large numbers as they did in New York City following September 11—presents special management challenges.

4. Affiliated. These volunteers are attached to a recognized voluntary agency or service club that has trained them for disaster response and has a mechanism in place to address their use in an emergency

Volunteers offer much more to emergency management than free labor. In fact, the benefits of involving volunteers are many. Volunteers:

  • Provide services more cost effectively.
  • Provide access to a broader range of expertise and experience.
  • Increase paid staff member´s effectiveness by enabling them to focus their efforts where they are most needed or by providing additional services.
  • Provide resources for accomplishing tasks or upgrading what would otherwise be put on the back burner while immediate needs demand attention.
  • Enable the agency to launch programs in areas in which paid staff lacks expertise.
  • Act as liaisons with the community to gain support for programs.
  • Provide a direct line to private resources in the community.
  • Facilitate networking.
  • Increase public awareness and program visibility.

So what does it mean for you to volunteer? In a nutshell, it means that you can become important to your community Americans want to volunteer. When you volunteer, you will be given a job that matches your skills and abilities that will be needed or can be used during an emergency.

Disaster Supplies Checklists

The following list is to help you determine what to include in your disaster supplies kit that will meet your family’s needs.

First Aid Supplies
  • Adhesive bandages, various sizes
  • 5” x 9” sterile dressing
  • Conforming roller gauze bandage
  • Triangular bandages
  • 3” x 3” sterile gauze pads
  • 4” x 4” sterile gauze pads
  • Roll 3” cohesive bandage
  • Germicidal hand wipes or waterless, alcohol-
  • based hand sanitizer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Pairs large, medical grade,
  • non-latex gloves
  • Tongue depressor blades
  • Adhesive tape, 2” width
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Scissors (small, personal)
  • Tweezers
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cotton balls
  • Thermometer
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other
  • lubricant
  • Sunscreen
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  • First aid manual
Non-Prescription and Prescription Medicine Kit Supplies
  • Aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Laxative
  • Vitamins
  • Prescriptions
  • Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses
Non-Prescription and Prescription Medicine Kit Supplies
  • Aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Laxative
  • Vitamins
  • Prescriptions
  • Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses
Sanitation and Hygiene Supplies
  • Washcloth and towel
  • Heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and ties for personal sanitation uses and toilet paper
  • Towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer Medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Tooth paste, toothbrushes Disinfectant and household chlorine bleach
  • Shampoo, comb, and brush
  • A small shovel for digging a latrine
  • Deodorants, sunscreen Toilet paper
  • Razor, shaving cream
  • Lip balm, insect repellent
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Mirror
  • Feminine supplies
Equipment and Tools
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • NOAA Weather Radio, if appropriate for your area
  • Mess kits or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • All-purpose knife
  • Signal fl are Household liquid bleach to treat drinking water
  • Matches in a waterproof container (or waterproof matches)
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • Shut-off wrench, pliers, shovel, and other tools
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • Duct tape and scissors Resealable plastic bags
  • Plastic sheeting Small cooking stove and a can of cooking fuel (if food must be cooked)
  • Whistle
  • Small canister, ABC-type fi re extinguisher
  • Comfort Items
  • Tube tent Games
  • Compass Cards
  • Work gloves Books
  • Paper, pens, and pencils Toys for kids
  • Needles and thread Foods
  • Battery-operated travel alarm clock
Food and Water
  • Water
  • Ready-to-eat meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned or boxed juices, milk, and soup
  • High-energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, low-sodium crackers, granola bars, and trail mix.
  • Vitamins
  • Special foods for infants or persons on special diets
  • Cookies, hard candy
  • Instant coffee
  • Cereals
  • Powdered milk
  • Clothes and Bedding Supplies
  • Complete change of clothes
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Rain gear
  • Hat and gloves
  • Extra socks
  • Extra underwear
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Blankets/sleeping bags and pillows
Documents and Keys
Make sure you keep these items in a watertight container
  • Personal identification
  • Cash and coins
  • Credit cards
  • Extra set of house keys and car keys
  • Emergency contact list and phone numbers
  • Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go
Copies of the following
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security cards
  • Passports
  • Wills
  • Deeds
  • Inventory of household goods
  • Insurance papers
  • Immunization records
  • Bank and credit card account numbers
  • Stocks and bonds