Share this article


Volunteers are an integral part of Joburg’s EMS. These people sacrifice their time, and sometimes their money, to help those who are destitute and helpless.

Volunteers are governed by the National Disaster Management Act, which allows municipalities to establish a unit of volunteers to participate in disaster management.

To maintain an inclusive approach to the participation of volunteers in disaster risk management, volunteers are classified into three categories:

Unit of volunteers.This category provides for individuals, groups or organisations that already have specialised skills, as well as those who undertake to be trained in specific skills. 

General volunteers. This category provides a general pool of volunteers who can be drawn on by the municipality to perform a variety of functions that may or may not require specialised skills. Volunteers in this category must be registered and must meet minimum criteria set down in accordance with national standards.

Spontaneous volunteers. The Act also recognises that people will always respond spontaneously in emergencies and that these humanitarian responses should not be discouraged.

Special skills reservists corps
This category caters for all the professional reservists with specialised skills, including doctors, mechanical and civil engineers, data capturers and specialists in the fields of disaster and trauma, communications, environmental, and accounting, among others.

Training and development
Training and development is an ongoing process to ensure that the City’s volunteers are skilled to deal with different disasters. This process is in line with the national government policy of up-scaling the skills of individuals and communities.

Several courses are offered:

Orientation course;
      Basic first aid;
        Basic firefighting;
          Introduction to disaster management;
            Introduction to fire safety;
              Introduction to events management; and
                Introduction to public information, education and relations.
                  Individuals are also given the opportunity to identify their areas of interest as soon as their training is completed.
                  Volunteer training is free of charge and is open to individuals and companies.

                  Community emergency response teams
                  These are members of the community who are trained to ensure that they are able to take charge and intervene during basic emergencies while the EMS is on the way.

                  For more information, contact the EMS’s public education division on 011 758 5050

                  Junior cadets
                  The junior cadet programme is a youth development programme designed to develop leadership qualities, teamwork and problem-solving skills among youths.

                  The programme caters for 12- to 18-year-olds. Cadets undergo similar training to that of the EMS’s operational firefighters, which includes drill training, handling the firefighting equipment and first aid.

                  For more information on how to become an EMS volunteer, contact the department’s volunteers section on 011 222 8000.​