Seniors as Emergency Response Volunteers

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
June 2014

Seniors are a valuable resource and many will be able to help with emergency preparations and respond as volunteers or leaders.

During emergencies, volunteers may help with many tasks, including making meals, helping to get needed medications, transporting people to a safe place, building temporary shelters, allowing evacuated people to stay with them, and providing support in reception centres where evacuated people can register and get services.

How can I become a volunteer?

In British Columbia, the provincial government's emergency social services support provides short-term or immediate assistance to residents forced to leave their homes due to fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. To volunteer, contact the Emergency Management BC, Provincial Emergency Program regional office in your area.

How can I manage stress while volunteering?

Being a volunteer in disasters and emergencies can be very stressful. You may help, or work with, people who are very upset. You may also work long hours in difficult situations. At the same time, you may have additional stress coping with your own personal response to an emergency, including loss of property, displacement, and trauma. This is the time to keep track of your health, both physically and mentally. Seek support and advice from your supervisor if you feel you are not able to continue to volunteer.

Should everyone volunteer in an emergency?

Relying on volunteers during and after an emergency can place more stress or burden on those affected in your community. Everyone has a different reaction during emergencies or disasters. Everyone may not be able to help others at such times. Some people choose to focus on their own or their families' needs.

For More Information

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Emergency Management BC, Provincial Emergency Program or call toll-free in B.C. at 1-888-988-9488.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: