Preparing for an Emergency Step 5 - Get Involved
Building a culture of preparedness is how we make Brevard a more resilient community. An informed and engaged public is the best way to empower individuals to lend support. There are many ways to get involved so you can make a positive difference.
You can help by:
- Volunteer with existing disaster support organizations such as United Way, 2-1-1 Brevard, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross.
- Build a volunteer team with your faith-based or community group, and join the Brevard Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
- Join or start a preparedness project. Find an event or identify local resources, build a team, choose a project, set goals, and serve your community.
- Talk to your neighbors so that they know their risks and encourage them to be prepared.
- Make a financial contribution to a volunteer agency involved in disaster relief. This is the most efficient way of helping people in need after a disaster.
- Before donating any goods, including food or clothing, wait for instructions from local officials or check with a specific organization.
Fostering training across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions is a core principle of emergency management on every level of government: federal, state and local. Each plays a critical role in the others’ success and it is through this collective effort that local communities are served.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supports a variety of training courses in local communities across the United States by providing a national curriculum, classroom materials, instructors and certifications.
In addition to on-site instruction, the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers independent study courses that are self-paced and designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public through their website. All independent study courses are offered free of charge.
FEMA’s Independent Study Program offers courses that support the nine mission areas identified by the National Preparedness Goal.
- Incident Management
- Operational Planning
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Service to Disaster Victims
- Continuity Programs
- Public Disaster Communications
- Integrated Preparedness
- Hazard Mitigation
Much in the same way that FEMA works to support the training needs of local jurisdictions, so too does the Training Unit for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Their central function is to coordinate the delivery of courses to the field for those in the emergency response community; primarily focused at county and municipal responders.
One of the strongest tools used to accomplish that mission is the State’s Training and Resources Activity Center or SERT TRAC. Essentially a calendar of events, SERT TRAC is a one-stop shop for responders to find upcoming training in their community, surrounding areas and across the state.
For more information or to learn about courses being offered in the State of Florida please visit: Florida State Emergency Response Team
Download the quick tip sheet on how to create a SERT TRAC account and upload prerequisite certificates.
Note: The courses listed on SERT TRAC are designed for those with an emergency response role
Brevard County’s Office of Emergency Management works with our partners from law enforcement, fire rescue, public works and a host of other governmental and non-governmental agencies to identify and address the overall training needs of our local first responder community.
Classes on all phases of emergency management are constantly being offered. Download the informational handout on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training Program, which offers guidance for the core courses for individuals involved in emergency management, law enforcement, fire rescue and response operations, which includes public health, public works, utilities, and skilled support personnel positions.
For information about our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and how to sign up please visit the Brevard County Fire Rescue website.
The American Red Cross is a volunteer based humanitarian organization that provides relief to individuals affected by disaster. The mission of the American Red Cross is to provide prevention, preparedness, and response services before, during, and after disasters, consistent with the mission of its Congressional Charter.
Chartered in 1905, the American Red Cross is charged to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same.”
The American Red Cross of Florida’s Space Coast works to continue this mission by meeting the day-to-day needs of those affected by both disasters and local emergencies, like house fires and minor floods. Those needs include short-term shelter, food, clothing, and both mental and physical health services.
The American Red Cross of Florida’s Space Coast regularly holds volunteer meetings and training courses at its chapter office at 1700 Cedar Street, Rockledge, FL 32955.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a volunteer based organization whose mission is to promote and protect the ethical treatment of animals. In times of disaster the mission of the ASPCA is to provide rescue and temporary housing and care to animals affected by the disaster, to return pets to their owners, and to facilitate transfer to local shelters so that displaced animals might find a permanent home.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals constantly looking for new volunteers including advocates, daily care volunteers, and various other volunteers such as adoption center staff, and pet foster parents. The ASPCA offers both volunteer and training opportunities for pet related disaster response and encourages proactive disaster preparedness for pet owners.
The Central Florida MRC unit supports Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties with volunteers to support disaster response agencies and health departments that may become overwhelmed by the need for medical care for our residents. Medical Reserve Corps members are trained and called to assist during these times of need.
Who Can Volunteer?
Anyone who works or lives in Orange, Brevard or Osceola counties may join the Central Florida MRC unit. Volunteers serve locally in order to respond quickly in time of need. Members may be asked to respond out of the area in declared disasters needing support in other counties, the state, or in a national response.
All types of volunteers are needed to support disaster response. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, emergency personnel, behavioral health specialist, dentists, infectious disease specialists/epidemiologists, and medical technicians are needed for support. Those without medical background including interpreters, chaplains, amateur radio operators, warehouse volunteers, and general volunteers are needed to fill support roles.
Training is provided for volunteers to help prepare them for job assignments and general responsibilities as an MRC member. After an orientation to the MRC unit, members are offered a wide range of training opportunities.
RACES is a standby radio service provided for in Part 97.407 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations governing amateur radio in the United States. RACES volunteers serve jurisdictions pursuant to guidelines and mandates established by local emergency management officials. Brevard's RACES provides emergency communications assistance to county and municipal agencies as well as the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other public and private service agencies.
- Licensed Radio Amateurs
- Certified by a civil defense agency
- Able to communicate on Amateur Radio frequencies during drills, exercises and emergencies
- Activated by local, county and state jurisdictions and are the only Amateur Radio operators authorized to transmit during declared emergencies when the President of the United States specifically invokes the War Powers Act.
For information on volunteering with RACES, contact: ;EMERMGT_800MHZRadio@BrevardFL.gov
The Salvation Army is a faith-based volunteer organization that provides disaster relief services. The Salvation Army’s disaster response is community based, varying from place to place based upon the community’s situation and the magnitude of the disaster.
In a disaster, the Salvation Army has the ability to provide both immediate emergency assistance and long-term recovery help. Emergency response services are activated on short notice according to an agreed-upon notification procedure, while long-term recovery is strategically planned in response to the situation, through working and partnering and many other community entities. The services that form the core of the Salvation Army’s disaster services program include: food service, hydration service, emergency shelter, cleanup and restoration, donations management, disaster social services, emergency communications, and administration.
The United Way of Brevard County is a non-profit organization whose mission is to be Brevard's leader in mobilizing the caring power of our community. It brings people and organizations together to do more than any of us can do on our own. Employers, non-profits, government, faith organizations, educators, labor, health providers, community leaders, youth and many others partner with us. The United Way is improving education, strengthening financial stability and making communities healthier.
United Way of Brevard has established a “Volunteer Opportunities” portal for individuals to connect with agencies looking to fill a volunteer need within our community. Search the portal for volunteer opportunities.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is a coalition of non-profits, service groups, and faith-based organizations willing to help our community after a disaster. Brevard County faces many types of potential hazards - which provides a lot of reasons to be prepared! Through VOAD, organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle, and provides a forum to promote cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration.
VOAD meets monthly:
- Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
- Date: 2nd Thursday of the month
- Place: Florida Solar Energy Center,1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa. (Check Brevard VOAD's Facebook page , as the venue sometimes changes)
2-1-1 Brevard operates the Community Information Hotline in partnership with Brevard Emergency Management in response to potential disaster such as a hurricane. During activations, volunteers are needed for four-hour (or longer) shifts around the clock.
Strong customer services and computer skills are required. Email BStewart@211Brevard.org for more information or to register.
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