Illinois Disaster Corps

Disaster Corps Logo​The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service has pledged to assist with statewide preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters. Serve Illinois will provide disaster assistance utilizing the network of national service resources in Illinois, as needed and called up by the local, state and federal emergency management officials.

National Service programs can play an integral role in helping prepare for and respond to disasters. Illinois National Service, especially those AmeriCorps*State programs who are direct grantees of the Commission will be participating in disaster response and recovery alongside Illinois Senior Corps members.

Disaster Corps Coordinator

Kelia Beck

Illinois Disaster Corps Members

Illinois Disaster Corps members, in order to properly respond to a disaster in an effective and efficient way must be equipped with numerous traits and items. First and foremost, they must be an AmeriCorps me​mber with an affiliated Illinois program or an RSVP member. All members must have an automobile that can get them to a disaster site. They must also have a cell phone that they can be reached at once at the disaster location.

Members should also be able to:

  • have organizational skills
  • have the ability to quickly establish and maintain rapport with a wide variety of individuals
  • be empathetic
  • have the ability to work in chaotic and ever changing situations
  • be able to multi-task
  • be technologically savvy
  • have the ability to speak and provide guidance to a group of people
  • be willing to make disaster response their priority when needed
  • be willing to be deployed for as long as two weeks

Training for Disaster Corps

Disaster Corps members will be trained to a baseline level to include the following: Online courses, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study (IS)

  • IS-1.a (Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position). 6 hours
  • IS-100.b (An Introduction to Incident Command System). 3 hours
  • IS-102.c (Preparing for Federal Disaster Operations: FEMA Response Partners). 1.5 hours
  • IS 244.b (Developing and Managing Volunteers) 4 hours

Total Online Courses: 14.5 hours. Note this is a FEMA estimate. Usually takes a much shorter time to complete.

You can find the online courses at You will need to register for a student identification number. Make sure to keep this close as you will need it to test for all trainings.

You can find more info about in person trainings on the Illinois Emergency Management Website. More details about these trainings will be available after the New Year.


Classroom Courses

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Volunteer and Donations Management-8 hours
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Volunteer Reception Center Management-<16 Hours
  • Red Cross (or other certificate providing organization)
  • First Aid and CPR- <7 Hours

First Aid and CPR training. Members and Volunteers can get this training through the American Red Cross free of charge. They will be required to have this training prior to any deployment.

For those of you who have not had the CPR and First aid training, there will be trainings available in the future. I will notify you. This does not have to be completed before the in person VRC training in October.


Serve Illinois Disaster Corps will be activated through IEMA. IEMA will contact the Serve Illinois Commission when a municipality needs assistance with setting up and maintaining a VRC. Once Serve Illinois receives that call, the Disaster Corps Coordinator and Executive Director will call the AmeriCorps program directors of any members who are in the region in which the disaster occurred to deploy those members. With the permission of the program director, the members will be called and deployed.

The Disaster Corps Coordinator will travel to the disaster site and bring the supplies needed to set up the VRC. Once joined by AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members and/or trained community members, the VRC will be operational.

Volunteer Reception Center

Disaster Corps members will, in the event of a disaster be running the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC). A VRC is where a large number of unaffiliated volunteers can be efficiently processed and registered to volunteer around the affected community. The aim of a VRC is to affiliate spontaneous volunteers with requesting agencies/service sites by:

  1. registering and interviewing potential volunteers
  2. assigning them to a volunteer opportunity that best meets their needs and skills and the needs of the community
  3. providing them safety training and job training as necessary
  4. issuing them a temporary volunteer ID
  5. Covering liability based upon requests of the county

A VRC serves as the administrative branch and liaison between volunteers and affiliated organizations.


The Serve Illinois Commission will incur all travel costs related to the IEMA trainings. The Commission will work with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago to provide free CPR training across the state. The Commission will not incur travel costs related to the CPR training and certification

Upon deployment, members must travel to the disaster site in their own vehicles. They will be reimbursed for their mileage.