ISO 22319 - new standard that provides guidelines for planning the involvement of volunteers

When disasters strike, citizens will try to help in any way they can. Spontaneous volunteers (SVs) are people who offer their help following an emergency. While they can provide many benefits, they can also pose challenges for organizations managing the emergency. ISO has published a new Standard which provides guidelines for planning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers (SVs) in incident response and recovery.

Duncan Shaw, the project leader responsible for ISO 22319 and convenor of Working Group 5 on Community Resilience, explains:Duncan Shaw

“While this new standard is based on extensive research and experience from  flooding emergencies in the United Kingdom, it also reflects experience from emergency situations across the globe, including ice storms in Canada, bushfires in Australia, tsunamis in Japan, and hurricanes in US, to name just a few. This Standard recognizes the complexity and value of the role of spontaneous volunteers in emergencies and provides practical guidance to organizations to help them plan for the effective involvement of SV’s.”   

ISO 22319:2017 is intended to help organizations establishing a plan to consider whether, how and when SVs can provide relief to a coordinated response and recovery for all identified hazards. It helps identify issues to ensure the plan is risk-based and can be shown to prioritize the safety of SVs, the public they seek to assist and incident response staff. It is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations that are involved in the planning for and management of SVs, such as local, regional, and national governments; statutory bodies; international and non-governmental organizations; businesses; and public and community groups.

The new Standard provides detailed guidance information on the steps to take to achieve an effective plan. Some of the topics covered include:

  • understanding spontaneous volunteers and they benefits and challenges they bring;
  • fundamentals of volunteer management;
  • specific risks associated with managing spontaneous volunteers;
  • key planning and implementation guidelines;
  • communication strategies and public messaging; and
  • assessing the impact of spontaneous volunteers and their engagement in longer term recovery.

ISO 22319:2017Security and resilience - Community resilience - Guidelines for planning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers is available from ISO national member institutes. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 88 Swiss francs respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.

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