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Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions about the RedRover Responders program and volunteering with the program.

1. Is animal-handling experience necessary to be a RedRover Responders volunteer?
Volunteers need to have some basic animal handling experience, and need to be comfortable working with animals of unknown temperament. We encourage volunteers to have 50 hours of animal handling experience from volunteering at a shelter or rescue group (about 4 months of volunteering three hours per week).

2. What precautions has RedRover taken to ensure the safety of the volunteers?
RedRover Responders dedicates a portion of its training to safety procedures. The volunteer manual includes Safety Standard Operating Guidelines, and on-site safety issues are identified and discussed during daily briefings. RedRover Responders volunteers are also insured for secondary accident-medical, personal liability and auto liability when engaged in an authorized incident response.

3. What additional training is required?
RedRover Responders volunteers are asked to complete the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) online course IS-100 prior to attending the RedRover Responders volunteer training workshop. We also encourage volunteers to continue their training through FEMA's other online independent study courses, pet and human first aid and CPR certification, and shelter volunteering.

4. Will I get to do rescue work?
RedRover Responders' main area of expertise is temporary emergency animal sheltering, and that is the type of work that RedRover Responders volunteers are trained to do through the volunteer training process. Volunteers will be needed to do this type of work during most d. However, some volunteers choose to broaden their response capabilities with other technical rescue training.

5. When will I be mobilized?
We can't say for sure. You can review RedRover Responder's disaster response history to get an idea of the frequency of deployments. Rarely does a deployment occur that requires all RedRover Responders volunteers to be mobilized. Volunteers are invited to mobilize based on proximity to the deployment, taking the needs of the emergency and the number of volunteers in the area into consideration. If you haven't received a mobilization invitation that you think you should have received, please contact RedRover to check. Also, if you are interested in deploying to situations that are outside of your typical geographic recruitment area, please contact RedRover.

6. Who pays for deployment travel?
RedRover Responders volunteers are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the shelter location. Volunteers can discuss interest in carpooling during the mobilization process. RedRover typically provides some housing, usually in shared same-sex hotel rooms, but sometimes conditions can be primitive. RedRover provides at least one meal per day. On rare occasions, RedRover can provide other types of travel reimbursement. If this is the case, it will be clear during the mobilization and deployment process.

7. Will I be mobilized if I don’t have an email address?
RedRover Responders volunteers are required to have regular access to the Internet and use a secure, private email address. Email is our primary means of communicating with volunteers because it allows us to reach a large group of people efficiently.

8. Am I required to travel?
We typically draw first responders from the geographic area closest to the response area to avoid the need for volunteers to travel. However, if we cannot recruit the number of volunteers we need, we will invite volunteers from other areas to deploy. Since volunteers are never required to respond, you are never required to travel unless you choose to deploy to a far-off location.

9. If I can’t mobilize when I’m requested, will I still be a volunteer?
Absolutely! We don’t expect you to be available to deploy during every emergency response. That’s why we need so many trained volunteers -- we expect that only a small percentage of those invited will actually be able to respond.

10. Does my RedRover Responders volunteer status expire?
Periodically, RedRover will ask RedRover Responders volunteers to review and agree to the Code of Conduct. Volunteers who do not respond after multiple contact attempts will be removed from the volunteer database and may be required to re-take the RedRover Responders training program to rejoin. This helps maintain an updated volunteer database. We also encourage volunteers to retake the RedRover Responders volunteer training  every few years at our reduced “refresher rate;” however, retaking the training is not required.

11. How can I update my contact information?
Please keep your contact information, including your address, phone numbers, emergency contact information and email address, updated at all times. Please email, and we can send you a link for where you can update your information.  

12. How do I contact RedRover staff, RedRover Responders leaders or another RedRover Responder volunteer?
You can contact the RedRover staff at (916) 429-2457 or and we will connect you as needed.

13. What do RedRover Responders volunteers do besides respond to disasters and emergencies?
RedRover Responders volunteers promote community disaster preparedness by staffing educational tables at a variety of events like community safety fairs and pet-related festivals, and by making presentations to community preparedness meetings, animal disaster preparedness committees and other groups involved with animal welfare.

14. How do I plan an event in my community?
If you hear of an event and wish to spread the word about animal disaster preparedness and the RedRover Responders program, please let us know by calling (916) 429-2457 or sending email to