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First, it is important to understand the acronyms:

  • Community Organizations Active in Disaster
  • Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
    • It is important to note that it is not "Volunteer" but "Voluntary." This is because the meaning changes when the word changes. "Voluntary Organizations" are organizations that chose to be active in disaster who may or may not utilize volunteers verses "Volunteer Organizations" are organizations who are made up of or have constituancies who are volunteers. 

And that all disasters begin locally and end locally.


Recently, the terms VOAD and COAD have been used interchangeably.


VOAD has been primarily used on a National and State level and COADs have been more localized, such as to service an entire County or local jurisdiction.


VOAD/COAD groups are dedicated to helping communities make the best of its resources in a disaster by creating relationships prior to an event and/or incident in order to ensure that human needs probable in a disaster situation are assessed and met.


Agencies within the Riverside County Operational Area have elected to utilize the nationally recognized and historically accepted term of VOAD as the localized extension of the California VOAD and National VOAD vs COAD. So, logically, the Riverside County VOAD is a COAD.


A VOAD is a community organization made up of public, private, volunteer and nonprofit agencies and organizations who may be active in all phases of disaster: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation. A VOAD enhances the ability for all communities involved to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.


VOAD's do not provide direct services, but provide a network through which individual organizations can more effectively address their mission and service goals during all phases of a disaster. 


VOAD members maintain their autonomy while working to reduce and eliminate duplication of services and other inefficiencies that occur during times of disaster. VOAD members believe that community leadership, public and private, should be utilized in planning, directing and implementing the disaster recovery.


Sub Riverside County COADs

The Riverside County VOAD in cooperation with the Riverside County Fire Department; Office of Emergency Services, has elected to not develop sub level COADs within the jurisdiction of Riverside County at this time. This has been a conscious decision in order to ensure there are adequate services throughout the entirety of the county and resources are not separated or duplicated. This also allows the opportuinity for the coming together of current agencies and resources to identify gaps in potential service deliver. It will take the entire county working together to fully recover from a disaster, not a single community.