Iowa Disaster Human Resource Council


Volunteers play a crucial role in disaster response, supplementing the efforts of emergency responders who provide immediate relief and care to individuals and communities following a disaster.


The Iowa Disaster Human Resource Council (IDHRC) encourages organization and identification of volunteers before a disaster occurs. Once identified, these volunteers are able to provide needed assistance in response and recovery efforts.

The IDHRC is comprised of faith-based and voluntary agency representatives from throughout the state as well as representatives from key government agencies. HSEMD developed the council at the request of local emergency management coordinators to identify and address the unmet needs of Iowa’s citizens impacted by disaster events. In addition, group members will assist with the coordination of volunteers and donations during activation of the State Emergency Operations Center as requested, and continue to promote cooperation among all volunteer and faith-based organizations. The IDHRC encourages the formation of similar groups at the local level.


The IDHRC is Iowa's Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and also serves as the state's Citizen Corps Council.


Contact the IDHRC by email if you would like more information about the IDHRC and Citizen Corps.


Click here to go to the IDHRC's Facebook pageClick here to go to the IDHRC's Twitter page


For additional information: click on the tabs below to open/close.



Functional Needs and Mass Care (ESF 6) Committee

The IDHRC’s Functional Needs and Mass Care (ESF 6) Committee is currently working to strengthen Iowa’s capacity to meet the disaster preparedness and response needs of Iowans whose circumstances make it difficult to comfortably or safely access or use standard resources offered in disaster preparedness, relief and recovery (For example, those with limited English proficiency or those with disabilties whose needs cannot be met in a shelter.)


The committee is also working on an initiative to help bridge the gap for special needs emergency planning, preparedness and response. The IDHRC hosted a symposium (planned by the committee) to bring together emergency managers, special needs people, and special needs advocates to develop a work plan for the future.


Long-Term Recovery Committee

The IDHRC's Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) serves as the statewide LTRC for Iowa. The committee recently served more than 40 counties for the Department of Human Services' Unmet Needs Grant program that ended October 2009. The LTRC seeks to help individuals recover from both federally-declared and non federally-declared disasters.


COAD Community Relations Committee

The IDHRC's COAD Community Relations Committee conducts outreach to local LTRCs, COADs (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) and counties where no long-term recovery group is in existence. The committee provides guidance and support on COAD sustainment, recruitment and training.


Marketing, Communications and Training Committee

The purpose of the Marketing, Communications and Training Committee is to educate partner agencies and the general public on the IDHRC mission and services. The committee will develop and execute marketing and public relations strategies to promote the organization, its services, accomplishments and activities. The committee will collaborate with the Board of Directors and the IDHRC committee chairs to ensure all marketing and public relations activities are supportive of the overall mission of the IDHRC.


Volunteer and Donations Committee

The Volunteer and Donations Committee works with state agencies, nonprofit groups, and faith based organizations to help organize and streamline the volunteer and donation process during a disaster. Since all disasters start and end locally, the committee works with local governments to help train and establish procedures for volunteer reception centers and receiving donations in case of a disaster.


The committee stresses two primary messages:

  • When donating, cash is best.
  • When volunteering, affiliate with a specific volunteer organization.

Volunteer and Donations Supporting Documents


Spiritual and Emotional Care Committee

The purpose of this committee is to promote disaster preparedness in Iowa's faith community, and to collaborate with IDHRC partners, Iowa churches, and faith leaders to provide disaster spiritual and emotional care training that is compliant with national Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster guidelines.






Iowa VOAD logoThe IDHRC is Iowa's Voluntary Organization Active in Disasters (VOAD) and a member organization of the National VOAD. In 1970, the National VOAD was created after Hurricane Camille devastated the Gulf Coast of the U.S. The purpose of member VOADs nationwide includes programs dealing with disaster preparedness, response and/or recovery. Visit the National VOAD website for more information.


Citizen Corps & CERT

Citizen Corps logo


Citizen Corps councils help drive local participation by coordinating Citizen Corps programs, developing community action plans, assessing possible threats and identifying local resources.


Programs under the Citizen Corps umbrella include:

Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For additional information, visit the Citizen Corps website. CERT is the only program that the IDHRC coordinates in Iowa; there are 60 counties participating in Citizen Corps programs in the state.


CERT logoThe Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program trains people in neighborhoods, the workplace, and schools in basic disaster response skills such as basic fire suppression and first aid. CERT members become an important part of a community’s emergency response team in the aftermath of a major disaster, when emergency services may not be immediately available to every neighborhood.


There are 42 CERTs throughout Iowa ready to assist local first responders.



Praise and Prepare


The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management takes emergency preparedness very seriously. Every day the department works to protect the state and its citizens from disasters, but they can’t do it alone.


"Praise and Prepare" is a program designed for Iowa's faith-based organizations to help educate and engage Iowans in their communities and houses of worship. The materials supplied help inform congregants about the relevance of emergency preparedness and empower them to take the necessary steps to protect themselves should a disaster occur.


Click here for more information and resources.