Become an emergency volunteer
Emergency services volunteers play a vital role in crises like floods, fires, storms, searches or medical emergencies. Learn how to become an emergency volunteer in NSW.
Get involved before a crisis
If you want to help during a crisis the best thing you can do is to get involved with an emergency service or volunteer organisation before a crisis happens.
That way you will have the experience, training and essential skills to help in an emergency.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in emergency services, both frontline, coordination, and other support roles.
For example, the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) works with spontaneous volunteers who respond when a crisis event happens.
Consider what local emergency services are in your community. Contact them via their websites or visit them to discuss what is possible.
An emergency volunteering platform to help
Volunteers can register with the emergency volunteering platform to do things like:
- welfare checks for those at risk of social isolation
- urgent household maintenance
- grocery deliveries to reduce demand on supermarket delivery services
- pick-up and drop-off of medications
- essential transportation to doctor’s appointments.
Members of the public can register their details through a simple sign-up process.
Different emergency volunteer roles
Many emergency services organisations offer induction, training, and skills development to make sure you are well prepared to help in a crisis.
There are many different organisations involved in emergency management and response in NSW, including:
The emergency medical response agency in NSW recruits clinical, chaplaincy and band volunteers.
Read more about volunteering with NSW Ambulance.
NSW State Emergency Service
The NSW SES is one of the state’s emergency responder organisations, relying on more than 10,000 volunteers.
It helps respond to floods, storms and tsunamis as well as support search and rescue operations, such as when a person goes missing.
There are many different volunteer roles and people aged 16 to 18 can volunteer if their parents or guardians offer consent.
NSW Police Force
NSW Police run a Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program to allow volunteers to perform duties like:
- assist with victim support and customer service
- support witnesses attending court and during the court process
- perform community liaison functions such as at senior citizens meeting and community safety committees
- participate in community policing initiatives such as safety audits and engraving programs
- assist during times of disaster or emergency
- maintain local registers including citizens at risk and key holder registers
- maintain a scrapbook of police related newspaper clippings
- maintain the public noticeboard in the foyer
- assist with school fetes and youth programs
- promote crime prevention initiatives by distributing crime prevention materials at shopping centres, schools, car parks and home addresses
- perform administrative tasks such as minute taking, shredding, filing, photocopying and packing
- assist Protocol Officer at medal ceremonies.
Read more about the VIP program.
NSW Rural Fire Service
The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is the world’s largest volunteer fire service, made up of more than 70,000 volunteers.
People who want to volunteer with the NSW RFS are encouraged to attend open days, information sessions and speak to your local brigade before becoming a member and volunteering.
Read the volunteer candidate guide for the NSW RFS.
Fire and Rescue NSW Community Fire Units
If you live in an urban area close to bushland, you can help your local community to prepare for, prevent and protect from bushfires by becoming a Community Fire Unit (CFU) member.
Read about the CFU program.
Volunteers can work in clinical or administration roles through hospital auxiliaries, not-for-profit organisations or with other philanthropic groups.
Read more about volunteering with NSW Health.
NSW Marine Rescue
Marine Rescue NSW works to help keep our waterways safe. You can volunteer at your local unit, whether it’s monitoring and maintaining radio communications, crewing an offshore search and rescue vessel, or providing fundraising, administrative or other support.
Learn more about Marine Rescue NSW.
Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA)
VRA Rescue NSW is a volunteer organisation that provides rescue and recovery services to the communities across the state. You can volunteer for a variety of roles from radio operator and administrative support to search and rescue field roles.
Find out more about the VRA.
St John Ambulance
St John Ambulance NSW provides support and care while building safer, more resilient communities. You can volunteer as a first aid volunteer or other support role.
Learn how to volunteer with St John Ambulance.
Surf Life Saving NSW
Surf Life Saving has a role for everyone. In the water, on the sand or at the surf club – whatever your skills and interests there’s a place for you.
You can learn more about volunteering with Surf Life Saving NSW.
The Australian Red Cross
The Australian Red Cross assists communities across Australia during emergencies and disasters. From helping organise evacuations and preparing for disasters to assisting in the aftermath, there are different ways you can contribute.
Read more about how to volunteer with the Australian Red Cross.
Other emergency volunteering opportunities
You can register to volunteer for a wide variety of emergency volunteer roles at the emergency volunteer portal.