Despite highly specialized and capable emergency management systems, ordinary citizens are usually first on the scene in an emergency or disaster and remain long after official services have ceased.

However, in most developed countries, emergency and disaster management often views outsiders as a nuisance or liability, and their efforts are often undervalued.
Given increasing disaster risk worldwide, it is likely that ‘informal’ volunteers will provide much of the additional surge capacity required to respond to more frequent emergencies and disasters in the future.

This excellent resource from the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction considers the role of informal volunteers in emergency and disaster management.

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