Organization-based Incident Management: Developing a Disaster Volunteer Role on a University Campus

Terry Fulmer, Ian Portelli, George L. Foltin, Rae Zimmerman, Esther Chachkes, Lewis R. Goldfrank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Catastrophic events are an ongoing part of life, affecting society both locally and globally. Recruitment, development, and retention of volunteers who offer their knowledge and skills in the event of a disaster are essential to ensuring a functional workforce during catastrophes. These opportunities also address the inherent need for individuals to feel necessary and useful in times of crisis. Universities are a particularly important setting for voluntary action, given that they are based in communities and have access to resources and capabilities to bring to bear on an emergency situation. Methods: The purpose of the study was to discern how one large private organization might participate and respond in the case of a large scale disaster. Using a 2-phase random sample survey, 337 unique respondents (5.7%) out of a sample of 6000 replied to the survey. Results: These data indicate that volunteers in a private organization are willing to assist in disasters and have skills that can be useful in disaster mitigation. Discussion: Much is to be learned related to the deployment of volunteers during disaster. These findings suggest that volunteers can and will help and that disaster preparedness drills are a logical next step for university-based volunteers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalDisaster Management and Response
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine


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