April is National Volunteer month, honoring the men and women who dedicate their time and capabilities to better their communities and help their neighbors. Standards support these generous and compassionate individuals in their efforts, offering protections to volunteers and making their work safer and more effective.
Many towns rely on the selfless contributions of volunteer firefighters to save people and buildings from blazes. With hundreds of standards that contribute to fire safety, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has many guidelines for the training and deployment of volunteer fire departments. One such standard is NFPA 1720-2014, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments, 2014 Edition, which specifies requirements for volunteer and combination fire departments to protect citizens and the occupational safety and health of fire department employees. The NFPA is a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
In the event of a tragedy or natural disaster, large groups of people often step up to contribute to relief efforts. Coordinating these volunteers is essential to a recovery operation that is as efficient and effective as possible. ISO 22319:2017, Security and resilience - Community resilience - Guidelines for planning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers, is an international standard that helps organizations establish a plan to consider whether, how, and when spontaneous volunteers can provide relief to a coordinated response and recovery effort. The document helps coordinators identify issues and ensure their plans prioritize the safety of the volunteers, the public receiving assistance, and incident response staff. This standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 292, Security and resilience.
The safety of volunteers, the people they serve, and the people they work for is of the utmost importance, but dangerous conditions in some emergency situations can lead to an accident. If an injury occurs during a volunteer's work, the possibility of coverage by workers' compensation insurance is addressed in a standard by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International. ASTM F2047-00(2012), Standard Practice for Workers' Compensation Coverage of Emergency Services Volunteers, defines the application of insurance benefits for emergency service volunteers provided under workers' compensation statues. It identifies the basic types of emergency service volunteers and the types of activities that should be covered, guiding both organized resources of public authorities as well as volunteers who respond to a general request to the public for their services.
ANSI is proud to support the noble work of volunteers across the country with standards that assist their efforts and promote their safety.