CaliforniaVolunteers Disaster Corps


Disaster Corps logo

The CaliforniaVolunteers Disaster Corps will be a cadre of 1,000 government-affiliated trained volunteers who devote their time, effort, and passion in all phases of emergency management: preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. The initiative will provide a standard system for training, certifying, and classifying disaster volunteers and their programs. This system, developed by subject matter experts throughout the state, will professionalize Disaster Corps volunteers and fully integrate them into the state’s emergency management system. In addition, Disaster Corps volunteers will meet security screening guidelines and be registered as Disaster Service Worker Volunteers.

The CaliforniaVolunteers Disaster Corps will ultimately make California’s communities safer, stronger, and more resilient.


In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-04-06, charging CaliforniaVolunteers with ensuring the coordination of volunteer activities related to disaster response and recovery, including necessary training, equipment, and transportation provisions. CaliforniaVolunteers is also responsible for administering the California Citizen Corps Program, a program created post-9/11 to coordinate volunteer activities to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency.

In the aftermath of the 2007 Southern California Wildfires and Cosco Busan Oil Spill thousands of disaster volunteers poured into those areas to assist with evacuations, sheltering, clean-up and a host of other activities supporting response operations. During the Cosco Busan Oil Spill, more than 1,200 volunteers deployed to assist in beach clean-up efforts. During the Southern California Wildfires, an estimated 10,000 volunteers registered with local volunteer centers in the affected areas; nearly 3,000 spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers were deployed to assist 2-1-1 and help at shelters. Additionally approximately 750 trained, affiliated volunteers were deployed to provide first responder support in staging areas, base camp, incident command posts and evacuations.

With such an outpouring of volunteers, the Governor recognized a need to more effectively integrate and coordinate disaster volunteer efforts in all phases of emergency management, from disaster preparedness and extending through disaster response and recovery. Currently, disaster volunteer resources are not integrated into the State Emergency Plan and are spread across a multitude of different organizations and programs, varying in function and mission. CaliforniaVolunteers was tasked with developing a framework to help integrate volunteers in to the state’s emergency management system.

The Disaster Corps initiative has been built collaboratively from the ground up through public private partnerships and with a wide range of subject matter experts including representatives from all levels of government, local emergency managers, state agency volunteer coordinators, and leaders in non-governmental volunteer programs. Their input has guided the framing and development of the Disaster Corps program and ensuring it is consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), State Emergency Management System (SEMS), and the California Master Mutual Aid Agreement.

Disaster Corps Grants

On April 16, CaliforniaVolunteers released a Request for Application for eligible applicants (Operational Areas as defined by Government Code section 8605) to implement, test and refine the Disaster Corps program model.