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How to support disaster preparation and relief

  • Officials ask volunteers to not self-deploy during a disaster, as unexpectedly showing up to communities affected by disaster creates an additional burden for first responders. Many volunteer opportunities require specialized training, and we want to ensure all volunteers are safe during recovery operations. 

  • We encourage you to be patient as you wait for notification of an opportunity to volunteer in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Often, when disaster strikes, the first several days are critical for first responders, and an influx of volunteers can complicate their work and even be dangerous, if conditions have not been cleared for volunteers. The need for volunteers will continue for weeks, months, and possibly years after the disaster.

Anyone with a HandsOn South Florida account can browse and sign up for volunteer opportunities that arise in the aftermath of a disaster. However, to be notified when HandsOn South Florida needs disaster-response volunteers, make sure your account is designated as a disaster volunteer account. You will find instructions below on how to do so for new volunteer accounts and existing volunteer accounts. Keeping the skills section of your profile up-to-date can be very helpful when we need skilled support. 


Create Volunteer Account ButtonUpdate Skills ButtonFind a Disaster Relief Opportunity


Instructions for new Volunteer accounts

  • Visit the registration page to set up a new HandsOn South Florida volunteer account.

  • Be sure when filling out your information that you check "yes" when prompted about disaster volunteerism. This will add you to our database of disaster volunteers. 

Instructions for existing volunteer accounts

  • Log in to your HandsOn South Florida account.

  • Hover over the "Manage My Account" menu item in the top right, then hover over "Overview," then click "Personal Information."

  • Scroll down and hit the plus sign in the green bar labeled "Demographic and Volunteer Options."

  • Select "yes" where it says "Please check if you want to help in a disaster." Be sure to hit save! This will add you to our database of disaster volunteers. 

  • It is super helpful to us if you spend some time updating the other areas of your profile, including your location and your skills, so that we can more easily identify those who can help with certain tasks or in certain locations.