Senior Corps—RSVP: Disaster Services and Community Resilience During 2012 Colorado Wildfires

Program/Intervention: 
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
Implementing Organization: 
Denver and Larimer RSVP Projects
Intermediary(s): 
Volunteers of America; Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Summary: 
This study looked at how Americans age 55 and older can also be part of community solutions to disasters through National Service programs such as RSVP. IT focuses specifically on how Senior Corps volunteers were engaged in responding to the 2012 wildfires in Jefferson, El Paso, and Larimer Counties in Colorado.
 
The study found that:
  • RSVP grantees can effectively recruit, train, and deploy volunteers in disaster service-specific roles and in dual benefit roles in support of community resilience (CR).
  • The vast majority of volunteers who served during the wildfires served at their routine volunteer stations in a dual benefit role in support of CR.
  • The majority of hours served by RSVP volunteers during the wildfires were served by a relatively small group of volunteers with disaster-specific skills; this example reinforces how traditional disaster preparedness complements CR.
  • Experience with traditional disaster service activity, volunteer coordination capacity, and established service placement relationships may also have been important in the Denver and Larimer County RSVP Projects capacity to redeploy volunteers in support of CR.

It should be noted, however, that RSVP grantees had difficulty collecting data on the number of unduplicated people who served in the midst of a disaster. RSVP grantees will likely need continued technical assistance to collect impact and other data in future disaster response settings.

CNCS Program(s): 
Senior Corps
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Capacity Building
Disaster Services
Age(s) Studied: 
55+ (Older adult)
Outcomes Category(s): 
Disaster Assistance Provided
Study Type(s): 
Case Study or Descriptive
Implementation
Study Design(s): 
Non-Experimental
Year Published: 
2016
Date Posted Online: 
September 16, 2016
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