Protections for volunteers responding to emergencies and disasters

 

In various countries, volunteers are protected mainly through certain parliamentary acts pertaining to them. In Pakistan, the Punjab Emergency Act 2006 stipulates that acts committed by volunteers in good faith for the purpose of dispensing services related to an emergency response shall not subject the volunteer to legal action or claims, but rather any such claims shall be indemnified by the Punjab Emergency Service (The legal framework of volunteering in emergencies 2011). South Africa also has the Disaster management Act 2002, which also stipulates that volunteers are protected from any legal action for their activity which was done in good faith. It is seen that volunteers are given security during the provision of their services, and thus can dispense their services more confidently.

Volunteers are also compensated in case of injury or death. In the Philippines for example, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, shows that volunteers are entitled to personal accident insurance, and any volunteer who incurs death or injury while providing services during an emergency response shall be entitled to compensatory benefits (The legal framework of volunteering in emergencies, 2011 ). The government or agency responsible for mobilizing the affected volunteers shall be responsible for provision of the insurance benefits. This provision strengthens the protection of volunteers. In Zambia, the president, by statutory instruments, may make regulations for the compensation of volunteers for any injury incurred during provision of volunteer services. (Patricia and Groble, 2014). In some countries, e.g. Macedonia, organizations have liabilities towards volunteers. Here, organizations are obligated to compensate volunteers for damages they incur during provision of volunteer services through that organization. Failure of this will attract hefty fines. It can thus be seen from this illustrations that countries worldwide subject their volunteers to compensatory benefits for any injuries or death they may go through as they volunteer.

Other countries require organizations to ensure to their volunteers that medical services will be provided to them in cases of situations requiring medical attention. These laws also stipulate that these organizations will only allow volunteers to provide their services when health and safety measures are in place. (Amy and James, 2006). It can thus be concluded that volunteers around the world are given a significant amount of protection as they deliver their services.

 

References

Amy Fairchild, James Colgrove, M Jones (2006) The Challenge of Mandatory Evacuation: Providing For and deciding For, Health Affairs 25(4).

Patricia Groble, Jeffrey Burden (2014) When Good Intentions Go Wrong: Immunity under the Volunteer Protection Act, Nonprofit Policy Forum 6(1) 3-24.

The legal framework for volunteering in emergencies (2011) Geneva, The international federation of Red Cross and red crescent societies.