Agreement allows nonprofit to aid county in disaster volunteer coordination

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 16:59 PM.

An agreement will allow Onslow County emergency responders to focus on their job while an area nonprofit organizes volunteers to help those affected.

The Onslow County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding earlier this year between the county and United Way Onslow County to get assistance and help with volunteer coordination and donation management.

Norman Bryson, director of Onslow County Emergency Services, said that after the April 16, 2011, tornado more than 8,000 people went to the site as spontaneous volunteers to help clean up and restore the area. As a result, county staff had to track the volunteers, where they were going and get resources allocated to those who needed help. Bryson said that during the response to the tornado, emergency officials had to get people in to help while providing security to the area, ensure volunteers were in contact with property owners and transport citizens to work sites and feeding stations.

“There’s a lot of accountability that goes into that,” Bryson said.

Now the United Way will help.

Craig Wagner, president of United Way Onslow County, said that the organization will have a seat in the Emergency Operation Center for volunteer management during a natural disaster and then, once the event has passed, they will establish a volunteer reception center where volunteers would register, identify skill sets and log in and out.

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