Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) carrying a disaster victim
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) carrying a disaster victim


Before and during emergencies, many people want to Get Involved in emergency preparedness and response. Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery takes the whole community to be effective. Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, so other organizations are needed to assist in different ways. Get Involved before disaster strikes! Here are some of the ways you can Get Involved:

  • Get trained and volunteer with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit and/or other Citizen Corps Partner Program or Affiliate organization.
    • Get Community Emergency Response Team trained in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operation. There are over 100 CERT programs in Massachusetts.  For a list of programs near you, visit:
    • Get trained and volunteer with a Medical Reserve Corps program to provide support during a public health emergency. There are over 45 MRC programs in Massachusetts. For a list of programs near you, visit:
    • The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program is a national program that serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs of all kinds. The program's ultimate goal is to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. For more information on the VIPS program visit their website at,
  • Check with your local fire department to see if they have volunteer firefighters or volunteer support positions.
  • Get trained in CPR and basic first aid and volunteer to help mass care and sheltering operations at your local American Red Cross Chapter
  • Many local faith-based and community organizations have programs active in supporting disasters.
  • Find a volunteer opportunity with a Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (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 by improving the preparedness of your friends, colleagues and neighbors. Get started.
  • American Radio Relay League supports the advancement of Amateur Radio Service and trains individuals interested in learning the skill of operating ham radios.
  • Support major disasters by donating cash or goods which may help meet the needs of your community in times of disaster. Learn more.

This represents only a few of the many ways that individuals and community organizations can Get Involved to help communities lessen, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. For additional opportunities that may be unique to your community, contact your local emergency management director or public safety officials in your area.