An App for Volunteers

With the Disaster Response Volunteer app you can accomplish the following:

  • Register your availability on one or more disaster response efforts.
  • Receive and respond to assignments from your iPhone, Siri, and Apple Watch.
  • Receive team alerts and view your teams.
  • Participate in audio and video conference calls.
  • Have a streamlined check-in/check-out process at a disaster site.



Once your manager has installed and configured the Disaster Response Manager iPad app, you can setup your Disaster Response Volunteer app on your iPhone. Your manager will use the Disaster Response Manager iPad app to authorize your participation so make sure his iPad is near by.

The first step in the setup process is to configure your iPhone with the correct iOS permissions. You will need to allow the app to receive Notifications from managers:


Make sure that Bluetooth and WiFi are enabled in the iPhone Settings app. You will also need to allow the app to determine your iPhone’s Location so that managers know your location when you volunteer during a disaster. If you want a streamlined check-in/check-out at a disaster site, select “Allowed Always” when prompted otherwise, select “Only While Using the App”:


By enabling “Always Allow”,  you should receive instructions that your manager may provided for you during check-in and check-out. These instructions will be displayed via notifications:

If you would like to use Siri to acknowledge assignments from your manager, enable it both in the iPhone Settings app and via the dialog:


Select the “Settings” tab, and rename this device so that its role and location are identifiable to volunteers and managers during check-ins, assignments, team alerts, and FaceTime conference calls:


Authorizing Your Device

This section corresponds to the manager’s section named: “Authorizing a Volunteer’s Device”. Ask your manager to launch the Disaster Response Manager iPad app and enable the toggle at the top named “New Staff Authorization”:


On your iPhone tap “Ask to Join a Facility” and in a few moments you will see that your manager has authorized you as a member of a specific disaster response facility:


You can refresh the list if needed:


If you volunteer at several facilities, please select your current facility so that the appropriate managers are updated with your assignment status and location:

Provide your FaceTime phone number or email if you would like for your managers and team members to contact you for audio and video conference calls. If you are working in the field you should enable “Off-site location” and “Off-site conferencing” settings:


If you would like your managers to know your on-site location while you are at the disaster facility, enable the “On-site location” toggle.

It is important that you toggle off all “off-site” features especially “off-site location updates” at the conclusion of your participation at a disaster.

Your Teams and One-Touch FaceTime Conference Calls

When you tap on the “Today’s Staff” tab, you will be presented with four lists based on the facility which you selected on the “Settings” tab. You may refresh this view as needed:

These lists allow you to not only know the current makeup of the disaster efforts but also allows you to instantly connect over FaceTime to other managers and volunteers as needed without having to dig through your iPhone’s contacts:

  1. A directory of all of the staff members:
  2. Your teams.
  3. A list of all of the managers.
  4. A list of all the teams.

Just to repeat, these lists are populated based on the facility which you selected on the “Settings” tab and the user of each device may enable or disable on-site or off-site FaceTime calls as they see fit as we see in the example below with Nurse Station 2:

To view the staff on your Apple Watch, force-touch on the app’s main view and select the “Today’s Staff” menu option:


When you tap on the “Assignments” tab, you will be presented with two lists: one displaying your active assignments and another displaying your completed assignments. You may refresh this view as needed:


On the Apple Watch app, force-touch on the app’s main view and select the “Reload” menu option:

When your manager assigns you to a task, you will receive a notification:


and it will appear in the active assignments list:


Tap on the assignment to view any notes and you can make a FactTime call to whoever sent you the assignment if you need clarification:


You may reject the assignment, accept the assignment and provide an estimated time of arrival at the location, or declare that the assignment is complete. The assignment status will be updated accordingly:


Responding with Siri

The Disaster Response Volunteer app is integrated with Siri on both the iPhone and Apple Watch to provide a voice interface for assignments.

Conversations with your manager using Siri on the iPhone: “Read my Disaster messages” allows you to hear your assignments and “Send a Disaster message saying I’ll go to the First Aid Station in 25 minutes” allows you to respond to assignments from either your Apple Watch or iPhone and provide an estimated time of arrival. Notice of assignment completion is supported from both the Apple Watch and iPhone with “Send a Disaster message saying I’ve completed my assignment at the First Aid Station”.

For a truly hands-free experience, you can use the watchOS 5 feature “raise to speak”.

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