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Volunteer with Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team

Emergency preparedness volunteers

The Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT) is a team of trained volunteers who support professional emergency responders in times of a disaster, such as an earthquake.

The program is designed to help residents protect themselves, their families, neighbours, and neighbourhoods in an emergency situation.

During a natural or man-made disaster, NEAT is trained to:

  • Use the City's Dedicated Fire Protection System
  • Provide basic medical aid, including evacuating victims and casualties
  • Locate victims and resources
  • Have basic radio skills
  • Operate within the Incident Command System
  • Collect disaster intelligence to support the efforts of first responders like fire, police, and ambulance

Is this volunteer opportunity for you?

To volunteer for NEAT, you should have the time and physical capabilities to complete intensive training.

How to get involved

You must be a Vancouver Volunteer Corps member that has completed the orientation.

NEAT Courses

Another NEAT continuing education workshop (CEW) the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) workshop is presented as an interactive evening designed to help our NEAT volunteers in their understanding of a wide range of peer support crisis intervention services. CISM training helps prepare participants to effectively understand and implement these interventions, specifically after tragic or catastrophic events in the workplace or community.

The City installed the Dedicated Fire Protection System (DFPS) in 1994 to help protect the city in the event of a major earthquake. As a team member you will get a guided tour of the Dedicated Fire Protection System operation centre. This is your opportunity to familiarize yourself with how the DFPS will work if a major earthquake hits Vancouver.

All NEAT participants are encouraged to take basic first aid and CPR training. If you have taken the NEAT program, the course only covers a basic understanding of disaster first aid. In this course you will go into more detail about disaster first aid and discuss why disaster first aid is critical when conduct triage and treating multiple victims.

Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) is a critical concept for initially dealing with casualties in a disaster.

History has proven that 40% of disaster victims can be saved with simple (rapid) medical care. START is based on the premise that a simple medical assessment and rapid treatment based on that assessment will yield positive – often lifesaving – results.

The City has identified earthquakes as a high ranking hazard. As a result of this, the City has broken the city down into six key zones and positioned each location with a storage container consisting of essential equipment that will be required to support the re-establishment of command and control and the coordination of resources immediately following a moderate to severe earthquake. The Disaster Staging Areas (DSAs) will be a meeting point for City staff and volunteers such as the NEAT members and will coordinate the required response in each zone.

The Bicycle Emergency Response Team (BERT) training will teach you the basics of bike mechanics, the expectations involved in assisting at a DSA and couriering supplies and communications if there are in a disaster. If the roadways are impassable to vehicle traffic; bicycle may be one of the means of transport and supply delivery. Learn how you can get involved.

The Incident Command System (ICS) is the system used by emergency response agencies to manage emergency operations. When NEAT activates, they become part of that system.

The NEAT ICS organizational structure will provide:

  • A well-defined management structure (leadership, functional areas, reporting chain, working in teams)
  • A manageable span of control that provides for a desirable rescuer-to-supervisor ratio of between three and seven rescuers per supervisor
  • Common terminology that contributes to effective communication and shared understanding
  • Effective communication among team members and with professional responders, including the use or radios
  • Consolidated action plans that coordinate strategic goals, tactical objectives, and support activities
  • Comprehensive resource management that facilitates application of available resources to the incident
  • Accountability