Volunteer in a Disaster

Volunteering requirements

All volunteers 18 years and older are needed in an emergency or public health disaster. You must be able to complete a Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check. 

You can help out as a general volunteer.

  • Language interpretation and translation

  • Administrative/office support

  • Transportation

  • Childcare 

  • Security

  • Data Entry

  • Construction

  • Information technology

  • And more 

You can volunteer as a skilled medical professional.

  • Physicians

  • Nurses

  • Pharmacists

  • Respiratory Therapists

  • EMT/Paramedics

  • Behavioral/Mental Health practitioners

  • Veterinarians

  • Health educators

  • And more

What to expect as a volunteer

During an emergency, volunteers might be asked to: 

  • Distribute medications to large groups of people.
  • Assist at a evacuee shelter.
  • Help vaccinate or screen patients.
  • Support overwhelmed hospitals and local health departments.

Volunteers also help their communities in many ways.

  • They teach communities about disease prevention, health literacy, and emergency preparedness.
  • Participate in exercises and community disaster drills.
  • Train with local emergency response partners.
  • Provide first aid services community events.

Organizations to join


Please make sure to choose a volunteer organization in your application. You can join more than one organization, but some organizations require a specific license or training. Additionally, the time commitment will vary based on the organization you join. 

Questions? Email CDPHE's Volunteer Coordinator (koral.obrien@state.co.us). 

See below for a list of volunteer organizations you can join in Colorado. 

Volunteers in these three organizations are registered by their home county. These organizations are usually only activated in the event of a large-scale disaster or statewide exercise.

The Medical Reserve Corps prepares for and responds to natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods. They also train for emergencies like disease outbreaks. Medical Reserve Corps teams are locally organized and recruit both general and skilled volunteers.

Additionally, Colorado has three skills-based units for acupuncturists, radiation specialists, and veterinarians. 


The Community Emergency Response Team teaches other volunteers about disaster preparedness. They teach basic disaster response skills like fire safety, light search-and-rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (COVOAD) is the Colorado state chapter of National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD). It consists of organizations active in disaster response throughout the state of Colorado.

The COVOAD Emotional & Spiritual Care Response organization mobilizes credentialed disaster spiritual care providers based on the NVOAD Spiritual Care guidelines to provide spiritual care response to Colorado communities.

Volunteers of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) are licensed amateur radio operators and typically have their own equipment. They provide communications support during a disaster or large-scale event. 

The Colorado Front Range Mine Rescue is a group of experienced miners. Their main mission is to provide support and experience during mine rescue operations. This organization recruits experienced miners who are actively employed in underground mines. 

This group helps to investigate human remains in the event of a mass casualty event. They work in five areas: search and recovery, transportation and storage, forensic examination including determination of cause and manner of death, family assistance centers, and final disposition of remains.

The County Animal Response Team tracks, evacuates, and cares for lost animals during emergencies. Right now, only Garfield County residents can join this team. 

Search and Rescue is a multidisciplinary emergency response team in the Denver metropolitan area. 

The Colorado Crisis Education and Response Network (CoCERN) is a group of mental health, substance abuse and other behavioral health responders. You will need certain training and approval to join this organization.

For more information about the group, visit the CoCERN page.