Volunteers make a difference!Our agency heavily depends on volunteer divisions to prepare for, respond to or recover from the impacts of disasters. Volunteer divisions are open to all residents of McHenry County. After going through the application process and completing the training and probationary period, volunteers will be issued uniform shirts and an identification badge. EMA volunteers work as part of various divisions and are utilized for preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts.
EMA Volunteer Divisions
Ground Search and Rescue (SAR) TeamSAR team is entirely composed of volunteer professionals with a wide range of abilities and expertise and is available upon request to help anywhere in the McHenry County, state-wide or beyond. SAR team members are trained in crime scene preservation, evidence searches, ground search techniques, first aid and CPR. Team also has the ability to provide search incident management. The team is available to assist law enforcement and other public service agencies. To further enhance resource availability for large-scale incidents, the team is a part of the state-wide search and rescue mutual aid system.
- Missing/Lost persons
- Walk-away elderly persons
- Evidence searches
- Any incident where coordinated ground search is required
Mass CareThis division’s primary focus is protection of evacuees and other disaster victims from the effects of the disaster. Activities include coordination of temporary shelters, food, medical care, clothing, and other essential life support needs to the people who have been displaced because of an ongoing on an impending disaster.
Mass care division supports:
- Sheltering operations (including household pets)
- Mass feeding operations
- Distribution of emergency supplies
- Family reunification support
- Immediate health, emotional and spiritual care and support services
- Facilitate access to disaster information to affected individuals
Communications & WeatherThe Communications division’s primary mission is to support communications needs of the McHenry County EMA and the communities within the county. This division is called upon in the event of a local or countywide communication failure or when additional trained communicators are needed. Weather division provides support during times of inclement weather by gathering weather spotting and post-storm, initial damage assessment reports. Communication is facilitated via Starcom21, public service VHF frequencies as well as ham radio. The Communications & Weather divisions have the ability to:
- Provide real time information about inclement weather to the public safety agencies and NWS, via its vast network of EMA and Amateur Radio weather spotters.
- Set-up and staff a temporary communications network (voice and data) in the event of localized outages.
- Support community events such as parades, fairs, etc. by providing trained operators to facilitate communication.
This division is responsible for behind-the-scenes support for all other EMA divisions. It consists of three units: Facilities, Ground Support and Supply (Quartermaster).The Facilities unit is responsible for EOC (Emergency Operations Center), vehicles, trailers and generators under EMA control. This unit ensures that all equipment is always available and in fully operational state. Monthly inspection and equipment testing is performed for 15+ vehicles and the EOC. The Ground Support Unit is responsible for materials used by EMA divisions as part of their deployments. This includes maintenance of portable radios and batteries, and providing and maintaining safety clothing and equipment for the Search and Rescue and Rehab divisions. The Supply Unit (Quartermaster) works with EMA staff to procure required supplies needed to support volunteers, along with maintaining a detailed inventory and storage of supplies.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Support
Volunteers will assist during incidents where operational (OPS) support is needed within the activated Emergency Operations Center (EOC); Intelligence Gathering is required; Damage Assessment teams are deployed; Volunteer Reception Centers are staffed; resident assistance centers such as a MARC or Volunteer/Community Reception Centers are staffed; etc. During periods where no incident is active, the division takes steps to prepare for future incidents thru documentation; training; exercises; physical resource preparation.
Interested in becoming a McHenry County EMA Volunteer?
We are always looking for new members to become a part of the team. We take pride in having our volunteers available to assist us on various events, and to assist us in completing our mission to serve the community during disaster. Becoming a volunteer gives you the opportunity to make a difference in your community and to gain leadership skills. In addition to gaining new skills, becoming a volunteer with us is a great resume builder for anyone looking to add to their work/volunteer experience.
Please feel free to reach out to us to inquire about filling out an application. You can find our contact information and times we are in the office listed below.
Office Location and Hours
Our regular office hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, excluding holidays. Our offices are located in the lower level of the McHenry County Government Center.
McHenry County EMA
2200 N Seminary Ave
Woodstock IL 60098