Disaster Services

A Message About the Winter Storm Hitting the Northeast


The Northeast is bracing for a severe winter storm. Most deaths during winter storms are related to traffic accidents and hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to the cold. Please keep yourself and family safe by following the guidelines below:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Make a family communication plan.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Keep dry.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts; keep an emergency kit in your car that includes food and water.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

For more information on what to do before, during, and after a winter storm please visit www.ready.gov/winter-weather and www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/extreme-cold-guide.pdf.

A Message About the Ebola Outbreak

ebola_strain_for_blog.jpgA micrograph of the Ebola virus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Right now is the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. There is a lot of misinformation and fear about the disease. Learn more about the symptoms, transmission and prevention by clicking here.

Medical workers and other volunteers need your help to combat the spread of this disease and save lives. Donate to nonprofits responding to the needs of Ebola victims. Ebola has called for a global strategic response.

As with any disaster please do not self-deploy or donate goods that are not specifically being requested by an agency working in the field. Stay safe and educate your friends and families with accurate information about Ebola. 

How Points of Light Responds to Disasters

Points of Light and its affiliates around the world work to activate, mobilize and engage people’s time, talent and resources to meet critical needs in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We continue to take a lead role in long-term recovery efforts related to many recent disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes.

In 2012 HandsOn Network affiliates engaged 43,000 disaster volunteers who served 263,000 hours, producing an economic impact of $5.7 million. These volunteers were engaged through disaster partnerships, such as American Red Cross and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Fifty-nine percent of affiliates partner with American Red Cross and 41 percent of affiliates partner with VOAD to coordinate and mobilize volunteers.

To help individuals prepare for disasters, Points of Light provides training to its affiliates and nonprofit partners to manage spontaneous volunteers through disaster boot camps and webinars, and executes the Good & Ready program to educate and mobilize individuals and families to prepare their own homes and communities.

Disaster Volunteers

Corporate engagement is a key driver in this initiative with a focus on engaging employees and consumers. The focus on making sure “you and your community” are ready includes preparing volunteers to be ready to help in disaster response and in long-term recovery work. This helps build a ready corps of volunteers and volunteer leaders in a community and builds neighborhood connectivity that contributes to community resiliency and faster recovery after disaster.

When a disaster strikes and throughout the recovery phase, Points of Light helps direct corporate resources to impacted communities and provides technical and management support to affiliates and partner organizations in affected areas to recruit, train and deploy volunteers. It also provides technology support to manage volunteers and works with partners to implement effective volunteer engagement.