Affiliate or register with a nonprofit or voluntary organization before arriving at the disaster area and make sure that the nonprofit has been asked to respond by the local community.

Why affiliate? Don't underestimate the complexity of a working disaster area. Immediately following a disaster a community can become easily overwhelmed by the number of generous people who want to help. Affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective and safe way possible.

If you are an individual, group/organization, or know of a group/organization, that would like to be a disaster volunteer, go to Volunteer Iowa. There may be interviews and training required to be added to lists. Those processes are in place to ensure the safety of all involved.

Be Safe and Come Prepared

  • Wait until it is safe to travel to the community affected and for volunteer service opportunities to be identified
  • Arrive self-sufficient with food, shelter, personal hygiene, medical needs and reliable transportation with gas for the return trip
  • Understand that volunteers are not covered by any extra insurance from federal, state or local government or the insurance from the property owner being helped

Be Patient

  • Recovery lasts longer than media attention.  There will be volunteer needs for many months after a disaster from cleaning up debris an tarping roofs to rebuilding homes and lives.  Volunteers may be asked to step into a variety of roles depending on needs.

Major Disaster Declaration Approved for April 26th Tornado Media Releases