This post has been updated from our original Ways to Volunteer as a Prepper post that was first published in 2016. We keep our content updated as the world around us changes, as we learn new skills and techniques, and (of course) when we discover new opportunities to volunteer as preppers.
Giving back to the community is an important part of prepping that is sometimes overlooked. Volunteering not only makes sense for moral, spiritual, and ethical reasons but for practical reasons as well. On a large scale, the more people that are prepared for emergencies, disasters, and SHTF situations- the better it is for all of us.
Volunteer opportunities that allow you to use your prepping skills are also beneficial for you since you can practice those skills in practical scenarios. A volunteer prepper is a confident prepper in their abilities. Take a look at the seven common volunteer opportunities available to preppers below.
1: CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
Community Emergency Response Teams are widespread in America and are one of the more comprehensive ways to get involved as a prepper. These teams are funded and fall under the Citizen Corps, supported and trained by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and relied upon by local government agencies to assist when disasters strike.
Learn about CERT and how you can join here: Community Emergency Response Teams
CERT members go through a large amount of disaster response training, so CERT can be a great learning opportunity as well. As a CERT member, you will be expected to learn and organize into roles that involve leadership, safety, fire suppression, search and rescue, medical triage, and medical treatment. CERT is an integral part of the Incident Command System (ICS) used for disasters and emergencies, so it also gives insight into how the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and FEMA all work together to respond.
2: Volunteer Firefighting
Firefighting is one of the most involved opportunities on the list but also can be the most rewarding. It requires you to be in good physical shape, and well over 100 hours of training to get started since volunteer firefighters have the same requirements as career firefighters. Whereas disaster response teams train often and respond to the occasional disaster, volunteer firefighters stay busy every week.
Over 69% of the firefighters in the United States are volunteers, so there is a large need and opportunity as a firefighter. Here is a good guide on joining your local firefighters:
3: Red Cross
The Red Cross is a huge organization and has an opportunity for everybody. They are far-reaching globally, and relied upon by many organizations for a wide array of support, from humanitarian aid to information sharing.
The American Red Cross provides about 40% of the blood in the United States, and its blood drives and services are one of its largest assets. They provide disaster relief and military support as well. From medical professionals to teenage students, they are on the front lines of disaster relief and need able bodies. Their sign-up process is relatively straightforward:
Local churches are a great start for volunteering for many. While they are not for everyone due to the spiritual aspect, almost every church and religion is receptive to disaster assistance programs. Many churches run their own programs that focus on national disasters all the way down to the local level. Getting involved with disaster relief at a church you already frequent is extremely easy.
Spending time with others that share your faith is an added bonus for this type of volunteer opportunity. Check with your local church for disaster relief opportunities, and do not be afraid to lead a group if one does not exist. If your local church does not have a disaster relief group, most regional-level churches are willing to assist in setting one up.
5: Amateur Radio
HAM radio is a great hobby that many preppers get into and enjoy. While it does require a license and taking a test, being a radio operator opens up a whole world of opportunities ranging from disaster assistance to SHTF survival. Your local amateur radio club can also provide information on how they get involved in regional disaster response and keep the communication flowing when the grid goes out.
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is the main volunteer opportunity for a radio operator, which requires some training. ARES will expect you to be able to operate the equipment under hardship, so basic survival and prepping skills will be needed. You will be expected to assist during disasters and emergencies, so you will need to make sure your family is prepared to sustain themselves in one of these situations so you can perform your ARES duty. More information and how to sign up with ARES is below:
6: Boy Scouts
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared!” Scouts and preppers share a lot in common, and many of them are one in the same. I have volunteered with the Boy Scouts by leading a GPS operation course and also taught the importance of disaster preparedness. Both were very rewarding, and the kids were engaged in the activities that I had planned.
Boy Scouts learn many important skills, and you can share with them your own experience and knowledge to enrich their journey. Pretty much anything prepper or survival related is relevant to them. From bushcraft survival to disaster prep, scouts are eager to learn and may even have a thing or two they can teach you as well. See the link below for information on how to volunteer, or even become a scout leader:
7: Start Something New
If none of the above opportunities appeal to you, if you have a unique skill set, or if you have limitations- you can still contribute to the greater good by volunteering. Doing something individually can be just as impactful as joining a group of volunteers. Doing something new can be even more impactful.
Whether you share what you have learned online through forums and blogs, or start a group that prepares together, you have something you can share. In this internet age, it is even easier to gather together volunteers, or share ideas.
The Final Word
These are just a few of the more well know ways to contribute using your prepping skill set. If you contribute to others with your skills, you can hone your skills and pass them on. If you know of great organizations or ways to volunteer that are not mentioned, please share them so others are aware of the opportunities out there.
Here are a few other articles our readers find useful:
- How to Get a Free Survival Map of Your Local Area
- The Basic Emergency Plan – The Foundation of Preparedness
- Homeless Survival Kits | Surviving with Less
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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