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Overview – Volunteer Program

The Risk Management Volunteer Program is designed to assist County departments in managing risks associated with the use of volunteers in County programs. In the County of Alameda, there are two types of volunteers: Disaster Service Workers and Non-Disaster Service Workers.

Disaster Service Workers (DSW) are volunteers who provide disaster relief services during a declared disaster. They must be registered with the local Emergency Operations Center. Injuries sustained by a DSW are covered through the State of California Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program.

Non-Disaster Service Workers (NDSW) are volunteers who provide routine services to various organizations and County departments on a regular basis, i.e. non-disaster time.

Resources for County Departments

The Risk Management Unit has developed guidelines for County departments to use as a template to develop their own Non-Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program. The guidelines provide a methodical process for screening volunteers and assessing and mitigating the risks associated with their assignments. It also outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the volunteers with regard to loss prevention.

In addition to these guidelines, the Risk Management Unit provides safety training for volunteers and will assist departments in assessing and mitigating the occupational risks to which they may be exposed.

Some volunteers in the safety classifications are covered by Workers’ Compensation under the Board of Supervisors’ Resolution No. 2004-57. Most volunteers are not covered under the County’s workers’ compensation and insurance programs. To report work-related injuries and illnesses, please complete the Volunteer Incident Report Form.

Volunteers on Community Service Projects

When departments or elected officials would like to utilize volunteers on projects in the community, they should contact Risk Management as soon as event planning begins. Risk Management will work with the sponsoring organization to ensure that appropriate provisions are included in promotional materials to reduce the risk to the County and that appropriate safety education is provided to the volunteers. In some cases, supplemental insurance coverage may be purchased to cover the event.

For more information, please contact the Risk Management Unit at (510) 272-6920.

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