CREW stands for Community Response to Extreme Weather – and that’s exactly what it is. Emergency Volunteering (EV CREW) is a volunteer referral service managed by Volunteering Queensland. We operate year-round taking offers of volunteer assistance from everyday Queenslanders, registering and linking them to natural disaster response agencies when help is needed.

In short, EV CREW is you – selfless volunteers who generously offer their time, effort and skills to lend a hand before and after extreme weather.

How was EV CREW established?

EV CREW was created in response to the unprecedented outpouring of volunteer support in the wake of extreme weather in 2008 and was put to the ultimate test during the 2010-11 Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi disasters. Volunteering Queensland saw the need for a coordinated registration and referral service to best manage the wide variety of volunteer skills, availabilities and locations.

When disaster strikes, the EV CREW team move into action registering spontaneous offers of assistance and taking requests for help from organisations and disaster response agencies. The team link volunteers with these agencies according to their skills and abilities.

When you register for EV CREW, you will enter information which determines what kind of volunteer role you are linked to. These include

  • Contact details
  • What skills you can offer (eg. medical, trade, counselling, IT)
  • What equipment you can bring (eg. portable accommodation, chainsaw, generator, tools, machinery)
  • Your availability (timeframe, days, location)

Why is this important? If a group of people have chainsaws, it makes sense for them to be referred somewhere that needs help removing fallen trees, rather than somewhere that needs help sorting donations. If you have trade qualifications, these skills are valuable for assessing and repairing flood damaged houses.

If you don’t receive a call straight after a disaster, don’t think we don’t need you! There are more opportunities for volunteering with long-term recovery projects in the weeks, months and years following a disaster, not just during the initial clean-up.

We also work with disaster response agencies to improve their volunteer management capacity. We provide information on training, debriefing, communications, health and safety, insurance, rights and responsibilities and community education. This ensures that EV CREW volunteers are able to work to their fullest capacity in an environment which is as safe and rewarding as possible.

What has Emergency Volunteering CREW achieved so far?

EV CREW is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers, staff and over 500 fully trained emergency phase volunteers. Their hard work has resulted in some amazing achievements thus far.

  • EV CREW have assisted in more than 130 volunteer campaigns since inception – some for up to 22 months at a time.
  • More than 120,000 people who registered their offer of assistance have been managed since 2008.
  • Over 60,000 volunteers are currently registered with EV CREW.
  • Volunteering Queensland has partnered with Volunteering ACT, Volunteering Tasmania and Volunteering Victoria to deliver EV CREW in their states.
  • EV CREW has been recognised and commended by worldwide organisations including the UN, UNESCO and the World Bank, as well as the British and Brazilian governments.
  • EV CREW was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ at the Resilient Australia Awards – Queensland 2013.
  • Together with Volunteering Queensland, EV CREW advocates and provides policy advice to local and state government on volunteer management and involvement in disasters.
  • EV CREW has partnered with over 70 disaster management agencies to improve their volunteer management capacity, advising in training, debriefing, communications, health and safety, insurance, rights and responsibilities and professional development.

Keeping in contact

Don’t forget to update your registration as your availability or skills change. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook and read the Emergency Volunteering blog to find out the latest EV CREW news and opportunities.