The Providence Emergency Management Agency recruits and maintains a cadre of highly trained volunteers to assist with the PEMA mission. Volunteers are trained in: disaster preparedness and response, Medical Emergency Distribution System – Points of Dispensing (MEDS POD), Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), shelter operations, disaster medical operations, search and rescue, Emergency Operations Center activation, chainsaw operations, and much more.
Volunteers assist PEMA and other municipal departments with staff support and equipment during emergencies and city-wide events. These volunteers could potentially assist in the following activities: severe weather monitoring, Emergency Operation Center support, communications, MEDS POD, traffic control, social media updates, debris removal, disaster response, emergency preparedness education and outreach events.
To volunteer, you must meet the following basic requirements:
- Be 18 years old and older (14-17 years old with guardian’s signature)
- Be able to pass a PEMA specific criminal background check
- Have a valid license, passport, or state identification
- Have an open mind
Note: All volunteers will initially receive a local police background check through Providence Police Department. Volunteer opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic will exclude individuals in high-risk categories, including individuals over the age of sixty (60) and those who have an underlying medical condition.
Who Should Volunteer?
At PEMA, volunteer opportunities are for people who want to help with emergency preparedness or disaster response and recovery efforts. Most programs require some type of training ahead of time so that individuals are prepared and remain safe while they are volunteering during a response or recovery effort.
The ideal volunteer should have excellent interpersonal skills, be able to perform well under pressure, have the ability to give and receive orders, and be able to complete tasks without direct supervision. Those fluent in multiple languages, including sign language, and with amateur radio licenses are also sought after to bolster our response capabilities.
PEMA utilizes a tiered approach to volunteering, which allows the individual to choose their own level of involvement. This gives volunteers of all ages, physical abilities, and educational levels the opportunity to become involved in helping their community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers will not have direct physical contact with the public and personal protective equipment will be provided. PEMA asks that all volunteers that are awaiting activation practice personal care, including sleeping, eating, and maintaining their health.
How Do I Join?
For those interested in becoming a PEMA volunteer, please contact the Preparedness Coordinator at or fill out our volunteer application below.
Additionally, you can reach PEMA via our main numbers: 401-680-8000 (phone), 401-680-8058 (fax), or by mail: 591 Charles St. Providence, RI 02904.