It’s all about volunteering…
Emergency Support Function #15 (ESF15), Volunteers and Donated Goods, is one of 19 mechanisms in Broward County that organizes and provides assistance to the Broward Emergency Response Team (BERT) during times of disaster.
ESF15 coordinates and facilitates the most effective and efficient use of affiliated and spontaneous volunteers, monetary donations, and goods during all phases of disaster management. Through a collaboration with government, nonprofit, faith-based, and private organizations, ESF15 identifies unmet needs found in the community and acts as a central source of information regarding volunteer services in support of relief efforts.
United Way of Broward County is the lead agency for ESF15 and provides significant authorities, roles, and resources regarding volunteer services and donations in support of Broward County’s emergency response operations and community efforts.
As lead agency for ESF15, United Way of Broward County fosters a team approach by collaborating and partnering with numerous frontline agencies such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Volunteer Broward, and 211 Broward to identify community needs and prioritize resource allocations. In addition, United Way of Broward County works together with the Long Term Recovery Coalition to identify, plan, and allocate resources to those who may need assistance achieving self-sufficiency while recovering from hurricanes or other disasters.
During non-hurricane season, ESF15 works on preparatory actions to make the ESF ready for the onset of the next year’s season and other county-wide emergencies. Preparations include providing trainings and exercises, bridging gaps and resolving issues faced from previous emergencies and exercises, and updating ESF procedures and policies that ensure operation proficiency.
Response and Recovery
As the only non-county lead agency within the BERT, United Way of Broward County occupies a seat at the Broward Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Through the set up and operation of Volunteer and Donated Goods Reception Centers, ESF15 carries out a system of identifying and managing volunteers as well as collecting, distributing, and utilizing donated goods. The public is encouraged to make financial donations during times of disasters which can be given through United Way of Broward County’s non-profit financial system.
Thanks to the ongoing collaboration of community and government partners, ESF15 is able to coordinate an extensive network of government, non-profit, faith-based, and private organizations that volunteer their efforts during response and recovery operations.
Now is the time to register for volunteer opportunities and disaster preparedness training.
For more information or to become a partnering agency with ESF15, contact Eliza Gomez, United Way of Broward County, at 954-462-4850, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Gustavo Vilchez, Emergency Management Division, at 954-831-3900, email@example.com.