Roles During Disaster

Image of North Carolina Emergency Management staff wearing yellow jackets approaching a house to assess the damage caused by a tornado.

All disasters start and end at the local level. Emergencies that impact only a few families or businesses are taken care of by county emergency management, fire fighters, police and medical staff.

In larger disasters that impact many areas, counties or regions, other county agencies or North Carolina Emergency Management may arrange for resources, equipment and staffing to respond to and recover from the event. In really large disasters that go beyond local capabilities and/or resources, federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. or FEMA, may be asked to help.

Local, unpaid workers (or volunteers) and non-profit groups are key to disaster response at any level. Certain volunteer groups, such as the Civil Air Patrol or Community Emergency Response Teams, may be asked to help with disaster response efforts like search and rescue missions for small or large-scale events. In local or regional emergencies, faith-based groups or non-profit groups, such as the American Red Cross, may offer instant food and shelter. Larger-scale disasters that impact many areas need help from many volunteer groups to help with feeding operations, rebuilding efforts and other key services.

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