Responding to disasters is increasingly a priority for national service programs, and often these disaster response and relief roles have limited connection (if any) to participants’ primary roles; they may even be far from their host community. Before national service participants are expected to handle these new disaster-related responsibilities, they must be prepared for situations that they wouldn’t normally encounter in their non-disaster assignments. This practice offers essential tips to fully engage participants in these new roles.

Adequately preparing volunteers for assignments that will take them to disaster settings may require a completely different kind of preparation and training than program managers are accustomed to.