Pennsylvania Volunteers

Train Together, Respond Together, Support Together

Pennsylvania Volunteers: Train Together, Respond Together, Support Together

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Volunteers website. The Pennsylvania Volunteers Inc., which is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization based in Butler County, PA, serves as the official sponsor of all Pennsylvania Volunteers Citizens Corp groups.

Pennsylvania Volunteers has a mission to coordinate and work in concert with all local, state and federal Emergency Management agencies as well as any other professional organization recognized by the National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) .

Our goal is to establish, Commonwealth wide, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) programs as well as other assisting teams including; Neighborhood Watch Groups, Fire Corps, Medical Corps, Search and Rescue, and Ministry in Action. Our members receive training from nationally accredited sources and instructors.

As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corp, our mission is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.


Securing our safety and freedom requires that we all work together. Every American has a critical role to play. Major disasters in a community can overload the capability of emergency responders, especially during the first critical 12 to 72 hours of the event. Citizen Corps will provide the community with a well-trained, readily available pool of local people who know their community and who can help during this critical time when outside assistance may have not yet arrived.

On a day-to-day basis, your council will help citizens take a more active role in crime prevention, risk reduction and emergency preparedness. Citizen Corps Councils and the programs they oversee will make your community a safer, better place to live. Specific benefits include:


  1. Giving the residents of your community a greater sense of security, responsibility, and personal control
  2. Showcasing your community’s efforts in crime prevention, public safety, emergency medical response, risk reduction and mitigation practices, emergency preparedness, and emergency response as part of the national Citizen Corps initiative
  3. Bringing together the volunteer and the emergency responder communities to promote the concept that everyone has a role in making their community safer, stronger, and better prepared
  4. Demonstrating your leadership and your personal commitment to the safety of your community;
  5. Building community pride and patriotism
  6. Preparing us all for the vital role of caring for ourselves and others in times of crisis.


Examples of programs we can help you establish in your local community:


CERT – Community Emergency Response Team program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills; such as fire safety, light search & rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community.


Neighborhood Watch – The National Neighborhood Watch program is housed within the national Sheriff’s Association, has worked to unite law enforcement agencies, private organizations, and individual citizens. Once trained, the Neighborhood Watch members work with local law enforcement to focus on crime prevention, disaster preparedness, emergency response, and terrorism awareness.


Ministry in Action - Community, faith-based, and youth programs that establish neighborhood support networks and disseminate disaster preparedness educational materials and post disaster training.


Medical Reserve Corps - The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program strengthens communities by helping medical, public health and other volunteers offer their expertise throughout the year as well as during local emergencies and other times of community need. MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response programs and also supplement existing community public health initiatives, such as outreach and prevention, immunization programs, blood drives, case management, care planning, and other efforts. The MRC program is administered by HHS. 


Search & Rescue – Team members are trained to assist emergency professionals in light search & rescue in support roles.


Fire Corps - Citizen advocates can assist local fire departments in a range of activities including fire safety outreach, youth programs, and administrative support.

Who are the Pennsylvania Volunteers?

They are people who care about their families, their neighbors, and their community. They care about others. They are your neighbors, your coworkers, your fellow church goers, they are YOU.


They are trained to support first responders during emergencies, times of strife, or disasters.


Do I have to be a certain age or have special qualifications to participate?

Pennsylvania Volunteers welcomes and has a place for those of all ages 14 and up and all skill levels.


How do Pennsylvania Volunteers work with first responders and emergency personnel in my area?

Our goal is to form good working relationships with county Emergency Management agencies as well as other government officials and agencies (County Commissioners, Sheriff’s Offices, local police, fire and ambulance departments etc.) to form a cohesive county Citizens Corps Advisory Council.  These Councils will identify the training path as well as any needed special training.  These various trainings can then be given by the Pennsylvania Volunteers or one of our certified affiliate organizations, so that the local area volunteers might best be equipped to serve as support for all the counties first responder agencies.     

What is the difference between CERT and Citizens Corp teams?

CERT teams may be activated to respond to emergencies by Emergency Management, Emergency Responders, or VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) organizations. CERT Teams take a specialized training track so they can better assist these organizations in a supportive role.


Citizen Corps teams take basic community emergency response training that helps them in serving their local communities in activities such as Neighborhood Watch, Ministry In Action, Search & Rescue, Fire Corps, and Medical Reserve Corps.


What does the basic CERT training consist of?

Basic CERT training consists of disaster preparedness, fire suppression, disaster medical services, light search & rescue, disaster psychology, team organization, and disaster simulation.