The Black Hawk County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) serves the entirety of Black Hawk County by providing a place to bring together voluntary agencies, businesses, and governmental agencies to foster a more effective preparedness, response and recovery to the people of Black Hawk County including the municipalities, as needed, in time of disaster through:
- Cooperation: creating a climate of cooperation, information sharing, and meeting together.
- Coordination: encouraging common understanding and providing a liaison with city-county government officials as well as resource management with the community.
- Communications: publishing and disseminating information.
- Preparedness: increasing mutual awareness and encouraging effective disaster relief and procedures.
One main component of the COAD and utilization of services during times of disaster and disaster recovery is the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC). The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley plays a large role in the implementation of the VRC upon activation from the Black Hawk County Emergency Management Coordinator.
A VRC is a one-stop shop for volunteers to register and be placed with volunteer assignments to assist during these times of disasters. The main goal is to have volunteers accounted for and hours served tracked. This is important during disasters as volunteer hours can be counted towards matching dollars to receive disaster recovery dollars from the state and federal governments.
A VRC might become activated to assist with sandbag efforts or tornado debris pick-up, but it can also be utilized to assist with searching for missing persons, too.
Once activated, the VRC begins set-up at a variety of pre-determined and partnered locations (depending on the type of disaster and the availability of locations). As volunteers arrive in the intake area, contact information will be taken during a brief interview process, each volunteer will receive a scan-able bracelet; which will track volunteer from check-in to check-out; a quick training will occur, and volunteers will be loaded onto provided transportation to be delivered to various points in the community to provide assistance.
Upon completion of service, a volunteer will be loaded back on transportation and will be scanned out of the system.
Part of the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s mission is to assist with the coordination of community partnerships and the Black Hawk County COAD and the VRC are just that – a huge partnership.
For more information on the Black Hawk County COAD or to learn more about becoming part of the VRC team, contact the VCCV at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 272-2087.