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2015 News

County of Bucks and United Way of Bucks County Launch Bucks VOAD

April 15, 2015

Bucks County Emergency Management Agency and the United Way of Bucks County are working in partnership to establish Bucks County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Bucks VOAD) in order to prepare the County for a possible large-scale disaster or emergency.

Bucks County Volunteer Organizations Active in DisasterBucks VOAD is a coalition of individuals, organizations and companies that are willing and able to help in an emergency. VOAD is grounded in the 4 C’s: cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration, to help disaster relief run as efficiently as possible.

If a disaster occurs, VOAD will mobilize those who have signed up to help with the most crucial needs, including shelter, food, medical assistance and any other applicable sectors. These sectors will be run by trained personnel or organizations, but much of the manpower will come from volunteers.

Jamie Haddon, Director of United Way, Bucks County, and Scott Forster, Director of Bucks County Emergency Management, launch Bucks County VOAD at the Commissioners' MeetingScott T. Forster, Director of Emergency Services Bucks County, explains the need for Bucks VOAD: “Every county should be able to provide assistance to people affected by a disaster. It’s okay to rely on other counties when we’ve exhausted our resources, but there are many organizations in Bucks County that can help in an emergency. Without Bucks VOAD, we wouldn’t know their willingness to help or their capabilities. When we get these organizations involved in Bucks VOAD, they are able to help in their own backyard in times of need.”

Anyone interested in becoming part of Bucks VOAD can sign up at www.bucksVOAD.org. Individuals should select “yes” when asked if they can be contacted during an emergency. They then can build a profile indicating their interests and skills to optimize their impact when disaster needs arise.

This platform is also used for volunteer activities in non-disaster times. Nonprofits are able to build profiles and post their volunteer opportunities during both peace times and times of disaster. Individuals can browse and sign up for any opportunities they are interested in.

“As commissioners, we are happy to support this collaborative effort in our communities. We know that we have many residents who want to help, both in times of disaster and normalcy, and this is a unified way to set up a network to do just that,” says Commissioner Chairman Robert Loughery.

To learn more about Bucks VOAD and the accompanying software, visit www.bucksVOAD.org or contact Katie Pilot at katiep@uwbucks.org.