SACRAMENTO–Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today launched the first-in-the-nation Disaster Corps to professionalize, standardize and coordinate highly trained disaster volunteers statewide. Disaster Corps volunteers will be registered by their local government organization under the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program and will meet Disaster Corps training, typing, certification and security screening guidelines.
“California is always leading the way and now we are the first state in the nation to integrate volunteers into our state emergency plan,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Volunteers are an incredible resource, and no state has more giving, more passionate or more dedicated volunteers than California. Together, we will take volunteerism to a whole new level and make California better prepared and better equipped than ever before, for any emergency.”
In the aftermath of the 2007 Southern California Wildfires and Cosco Busan Oil Spill, thousands of disaster volunteers poured into affected areas to assist with evacuations, sheltering, clean-up and a host of other activities supporting response operations. Governor Schwarzenegger recognized the need to more effectively integrate and coordinate disaster volunteer efforts in all phases of emergency management, from disaster preparedness to disaster response and recovery. In February 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Karen Baker to serve as the state’s and also the nation’s first secretary of Service and Volunteering and charged her office with the development of the Disaster Corps.