accessibility & help

Emergency reserve volunteers

Are you ready to help?

Family in a flooded living room© Info

Help us help your community in a time of crisis. Sign up today and become a registered volunteer.

What is an emergency reserve volunteer?

When an emergency occurs it is common to see a generous outpouring of public support and aid.

Whilst this support is highly valuable and appreciated, any response to a crisis needs to be properly co-ordinated and managed. Emergency reserve volunteers (ERVs) are the British Red Cross’ answer to this.

Instead of attempting to manage a variety of help offered by the public in an emergency situation, we aim to pre-register people like you. Then we can contact you if and when your help is needed. You will provide crucial support to our teams.

By signing up you will join our reserve force of volunteers, an invaluable resource when a major incident occurs

We do not expect any commitment when an emergency is over. You do not need any specialist skills. We ask only for your enthusiasm to help those in need.

What will I be doing?

Whilst we do prepare for all scenarios, we can never fully predict the demands of a crisis.

As an emergency reserve volunteer, you might be expected to:

  • fill sandbags
  • clear roads and paths
  • move furniture upstairs in houses before a flood
  • sort essential supplies and stock
  • carry out administrative roles
  • help our teams to carry equipment.

How much time do I need to commit?

There is no minimum volunteering commitment and you can leave the volunteer list at any time.

We expect to have to summon our emergency reserve volunteers around twice a year but it’s up to you whether you join us each time.

After you sign up, you need to undertake a short online training programme to ensure you stay safe. We are currently updating the training programme. Once you sign up, we will email you in the next few weeks and you can complete the training online at your leisure.

Am I eligible?

To join us you must:

  • be 18 years old or over
  • live in the UK
  • have access to a phone that can send and receive SMS (text) messages
  • be fit enough to undertake basic manual tasks.

How do I apply?

It's easy. Just fill out the registration form and we will send you a confirmation email.

Volunteering builds your confidence

Nina Lazarski, 45, knows the value of volunteering. In her day job at the University of Winchester, Nina helps staff and students find rewarding volunteering opportunities in the local community. Now Nina has signed up to become a British Red Cross emergency reserve volunteer.

“I think volunteering develops you as a person and builds your confidence working as a team in situations outside your normal comfort zone,” says Nina.

“You find out about yourself and often discover qualities you maybe didn’t know you had because they’re not called upon in daily life.”

Nina’s work in the volunteering field has earned her the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Nina has previously volunteered as a Samaritan and for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. For the busy mum of one, the occasional nature of the Red Cross ERV role, and the opportunity to make a real difference to her community during a crisis, are what appealed.

“In recent years we’ve had floods where I live and work. If something happened again I’d like to think I could do something to help and I think lots of others would, too. This scheme’s brilliant, because it will co-ordinate that support.”

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