Tips for volunteers

Many people want to volunteer their time to help others after a disaster. The support volunteers provide helps communities get back on track as quickly as possible.

Help others and take care of yourself

When you're volunteering during a disaster it's important to recognise that everyone will react in different ways.

Below are a few practical tips about how you can help others and also take care of yourself.

Supporting people experiencing loss and change

  • Everyone has different reactions to a disaster or traumatic event.
  • Don't assume that someone is ready for your offer of help.
  • Talk to people affected by a disaster as you normally would.
  • Ask if you are not sure about anything.
  • If you see someone’s stress level or emotions are increasing, give them some space. Then consider directing them to professional advice or family support.
  • It's common for people to feel frustrated and angry when they start to recover from a traumatic event. It’s important for you to stay calm and give them some space.

Taking care of yourself

  • Be aware of the risks and dangers of your environment.
  • Think about your own health and safety before helping others.
  • Follow advice provided by authorities.
  • As a volunteer you may witness traumatic events and experience a range of emotions. Take care of your emotional needs as well as your physical needs.

Helpful resources