Get involved early
If you want to help out in a crisis the best thing you can do is to get involved with an emergency service or volunteer organisation early. That way you will have the experience, training and essential skills to help out through your volunteer organisation in an emergency.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in emergency services organisations, both frontline and other support roles, and most offer induction, training, and skills development to make sure you are well prepared to help in a crisis.
There are a number of key volunteer organisations involved in emergency management and response.
Emergency volunteer organisations
Ambulance Victoria – Volunteers
Ambulance Victoria provides pre-hospital care and medical transport (by road and air) for patients in medical emergencies. Their key role in a crisis situation is to triage casualties and provide medical care, and lead the Health Incident Management Team.
Ambulance Victoria also trains Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), volunteers who are 'first responders' in communities where the nearest ambulance branch is at a distance. CERTs provide basic emergency care until an ambulance arrives.
Australian Red Cross
The Red Cross provides immediate and practical help to people experiencing crisis.
During an emergency, Australian Red Cross volunteers work alongside emergency services to help affected people and provide personal support. They also help to reconnect families separated by an emergency.
Australian Volunteer Coast Guard
The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard is an organisation composed entirely of volunteers, with the aim to promote safety in the operation of small craft through education, example and examination.
The Volunteer Coast Guard lead marine search and rescue operations in an emergency.
Country Fire Authority (CFA)
Country Fire Authority (CFA) is a volunteer and community based fire and emergency services organisation. CFA is one of the world's largest volunteer emergency service and community safety organisations.
There are more than 1,200 CFA fire brigades across Victoria, who respond to bushfires, house fires, industrial fires, road accidents, rescues and other emergencies.
Country Women's Association of Victoria
The Country Women's Association works across Australia to improve the conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia.
They perform an important role in assisting in emergencies, crises and natural disasters, making craft items and preparing packs to assist those affected by disaster, and by raising funds to help families who need financial support following an emergency.
Life Saving Victoria
Life Saving Victoria works to prevent death and injury in Victorian waters. They provide education, rescue, training, and risk management services.
In an emergency, Life Saving Victoria provide both professional and volunteer beach based patrolling, including aerial surveillance, and assist the Water Police. Clubrooms at Life Saving clubs are made available as emergency evacuation centres.
Lions Clubs are an active part of community life, providing services and raising money for a vast variety of projects important to their communities.
Lions play an important part in emergency support, by providing direct help as members of the local bushfire brigade or SES, helping out as tradespeople in rebuilding efforts and providing food, clothing and a friendly face to emergency workers. They also raise money to help local communities recover from an emergency.
St John Ambulance Australia (Vic)
St John Ambulance Australia is primarily responsible for providing first aid delivery and community first aid training. St John has trained over 200,000 Victorians in first aid skills.
In an emergency, St John provide response and resources such as mobile first aid vehicles, first aid/first responder trained teams, advanced casualty management
The Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams assist in crisis and disaster situations nationally and internationally.
In an emergency, SAES provides food services to victims as well as to the SES, emergency services and their support staff. They also provide support services to help people affected during a crisis, such as providing emergency accommodation, transport and material needs such as bedding and clothing.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)
The Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) is a volunteer based organisation. They are the lead agency when responding to emergencies such as floods, storms and earthquakes, and they operate the largest network of road rescue in Australia. Volunteers also assist police with search and rescue operations.
In an emergency, SES leads the rescue of people in danger and plays an important support role during major bushfires.
Victorian Council of Churches, Emergencies Ministry
The Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry (VCC EM) provides its services through volunteers from several religious and cultural groups including Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu, trained to respond to all affected persons following emergencies in Victoria.
During emergency relief and recovery, VCC EM provides psychosocial support, emotional and spiritual care and personal support in relief and recovery centres and through community outreach, direct visits, community meetings and gatherings.
Wildlife Victoria is a not for profit, volunteer based organisation that provide a 24 hour, 7 day a week wildlife rescue and information service. Wildlife Victoria has trained volunteer disaster response teams that can be called upon at any time to assist in wildlife rescue emergencies such as bushfires and oil spills.