Are you interested in being involved with disaster and incident response but wondering “What's my role?” or “How does my skill set fit in?” or even “How do I get started?”
This page is for you!
The information below was put together by a multidisciplinary team with experience in disaster and emergency response, to help you navigate your pathway toward becoming disaster response ready. During a disaster there is a lot to do. We all show up with unique knowledge, background, and skills - which is great! There is a perfect fit for everyone and we need you.
During and after disasters the inequities in our society are exacerbated and it requires an incredibly diverse group of responders to address the wide array of needs presented by our communities. Those already disenfranchised suffer impacts from disasters disproportionately. This requires us to bring our best selves to disaster response
Listed below you will find the basic characteristics and requirements for positions in disaster response, and the descriptions of duties for each. If you have questions, we are here to help you determine where your interests and skills will best fit!
A little background
When an incident occurs that needs coordination and response support, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be activated. The EOC is generally a physical location where incident response is coordinated by a team of individuals possessing skills relevant to the specific response.
An EOC is always staffed by at least an EOC Manager, who then delegates other positions as needed.
General Characteristics of EOC Staff:
Teamwork. Able to cultivate relationships, share information and support colleagues.
Flexible, Adaptable. Comfortable adapting to unusual situations, working with people from other disciplines and organizations, and doing whatever is necessary to accomplish goals.
Expert, Trained. Possess administrative, technical, and professional skills/knowledge.
Commitment. Enthusiastically participate in a response organization.
In addition, EOC leadership positions require:
Leadership, Management. Able to apply the right management tools and leadership style to the situation. Appropriately obtain and use information. Organize teams and individuals to adapt to current objectives. Anticipate and prepare for future needs in productive ways.
Commitment to Gain Expertise, Leadership. Develop into expert and leader in areas of responsibility. Lead by example and learn through formal and on-the-job training, practice, and self teaching/preparation. Know own role, that of subordinate leaders and staff, and the integration and relationship of all roles with other functional leaders.
What is your level of interest in participating in the EOC? Consider which one best matches your level of interest:
Field operations surge staff: minimal pre-event training, trained just-in-time for a specific position, generally only called for larger or extended period emergencies
DRC Team member: General DRC staff, Behavioral Health Team (Emotional and Psychological First Aid), Health and Medical First Aid Team, Referral Specialist Team, Support Services Team, Day Care Team (child care & adult care), Volunteer & Donations Management, Site Safety & Security Team, IT Team, and Facilities Management Team
Management staff: mid-level pre-event training and exercises, assisting leaders accomplish specific tasks
Unit Leaders, Division Supervisors & other prospective leaders: mid- to high-level pre-event training and exercises, leading a team of people to accomplish specific tasks
Consider which of the following best describes you:
Solution Builder = Operations, Logistics, Finance, Planning, Information, EOC Manager, Liaison
Problem Anticipator = Planning, Operations, Logistics, EOC Manager, Safety
Forward Thinker = Planning, Logistics
Doer = Operations
Keeping your answers to the above questions in mind, see below for descriptions of each of the positions.
There are eight major functional areas within the EOC.
The following are the major EOC functions. Click the links to read more about each.
- Command Staff, which includes the EOC Manager, Public Information, Liaison, and Safety.
Deputies, unit leaders and staff provide depth and support to various Units as the organization works together toward an effective response.
Please take a few moments to acquaint yourself further with each role.
If any of the positions spark your interest or you’d like to find out more, please fill out our online interest form and a disaster service worker mentor will make contact with you.
The following acknowledgment forms provide more information about what's expected from Disaster Service Workers as well as their supervisors:
In addition, the following introductory level courses are recommended for all disaster service workers:
ICS 100: Introduction to the Incident Command System. This is an interactive web based course.
ICS 700: An Introduction to the National Incident Management System. This is an interactive web based course.
Deployment Basics. This is a County-led training opportunity. Registration for County staff is through Workday.
Read about how to volunteer at Disaster Resource Centers here.