Thursday, July 3, 2008

Should emergency response volunteers be background checked?

When talking about background checks, two of the main concerns are often the cost and the time that it takes a person to process it.

If a volunteer is wearing a vest from your jurisdiction, does the public make the assumption they have been checked?

So, what do some organizations do?

Lets look an organization that has been doing this type of volunteer work for a long time. The America Red Cross background checks their
volunteers - through a service

Organizations, such as Volunteer Fairfax, have also asked related questions on their blog -

Is the assumption made by people in other agencies that volunteers have the same credentials as other volunteers?

Should all volunteers in an organization have background checks or just some? And is it then assumed all have gone through background checks?

If a police volunteer is working side by side with a fire volunteer who is working side by side a spontaneous volunteer, is it just assumed they have gone through a check (and similar training)?

What about if one jurisdiction does a background and the neighboring one does not, is it just assumed that everyone is background checked?

If you answered no to many or any of these questions, you may want to ask around. It is probably not the norm.

The next time you have a volunteer look after your children, might you want to ask some of these questions?


Anonymous said...

Additional guidance can be found at:

Anonymous said...

Are you saying most citizen corps council progams do not background check their people? The same people who are here to protect us!!

Neighbors Helping Neighbors said...

No, I am not saying that. The blog is just raising some questions to think about.

You should contact your local agency if you have any specific concerns.

Anonymous said...

I have C-O-N-C-E-R-N-S !

Your Fairfax CERT blog lists volunteers in lost-child booths at county fairs and street markets.

YOU will not make it MANDATORY to background check? It is clear you do not have children.

When are you going to do something about it!

Neighbors Helping Neighbors said...

This website is independent and not affiliated with the website you reference.

If you have any concerns about a specific program, as previously suggested, please contact the agency directly.