from a 2003 press release on FEMA's website
Volunteers Make The Differencei couldn't have made this up any better if i had tried.
Release Date: October 20, 2003
Release Number: 1493-31
Washington, DC -- They are at every disaster, usually on the front line helping to meet the immediate and urgent needs of disaster victims. Some bring specialized skills and expertise; others offer an extra pair of hands or needed manpower. While their tasks may be different, they all share a desire to help and make a difference. They are volunteers.
More than 200 - both trained and spontaneous, unaffiliated - volunteers answered the call in the District of Columbia during Hurricane Isabel. The D.C. Commission on National and Community Service's D.C. Citizen Corps, and community partners, mobilized and assigned people to distribute 515 tons of dry and wet ice, 21,000 sandbags and assist in the feeding of more than 8,500 District residents.
"Government can't do it alone and our experience with Hurricane Isabel clearly showed that," said D.C. Emergency Management Agency director Peter La Porte. "Volunteers play a critical role in emergency response and were an invaluable resource during this disaster."
D.C. Citizen Corps, part of a national program administered by Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), started after September 11, 2001, to harness the power of individuals through education, training, and volunteer service, trains volunteers in crime prevention, emergency preparedness, mitigation, and response to all hazards- crime, terrorism, natural, technological and man-made disasters. The D.C. Citizen Corp's Community Response Team (CERT) program, trains people in basic disaster response skills and helps them take a more active role in emergency preparedness.
Greater D.C. Cares (GDCC), a Citizen Corps partner, managed and coordinated the people who responded to Mayor Williams' call for volunteers. Working from the city's Emergency Operations Center, GDCC assigned volunteers to the Food Bank, D.C. Central Kitchen and Washington Parks and People.
Voluntary agencies have a vital role in the Federal Response Plan that FEMA activates in disasters. The American Red Cross is the lead organization for administering response activities that meet the urgent needs of disaster victims on a mass care basis.
During Hurricane Isabel, a collaboration of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptists, D.C. employees, and other volunteers worked together to set up a mass-feeding program that provided more than 22,000 meals to District residents.
"You can't overstate the importance of volunteers," said Washington, D.C. federal coordinating officer Scott Wells. "Their giving personalities make them good team members that you can count on at a disaster. You don't always know who they are or where they come from, but you know they will always be there."