By Roger Hancock, Manager of Community Affairs, CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer.
This year’s Northern California wildfires burned more than 600,000 acres – the largest wildfire in California history. The fires were devastating, resulting in the destruction of numerous structures, the displacement of thousands of residents, and several fatalities. While first responders met the wildfires head-on, volunteers also played an important role, providing comfort and counsel for those at risk of losing everything.
CSAA Insurance Group’s award-winning corporate volunteer program, AAA Volunteers, empowers and motivates employees to address diverse community needs through volunteer service. In response to the wildfires, employees volunteered to take time from their normal job duties and daily routines to contact impacted customers. These calls helped confirm that those who were forced to evacuate or prepare for displacement were safe and had the information they needed to provide for themselves and their families. Within a single week, more than 4,000 calls were made to individuals impacted by the fires.
While our employees are always looking for ways to give back, it is in times of urgent need that we often receive an overwhelming number of requests from our staff to help out. Any one of us could need help in an emergency, so we all want to be there for those who do.
In addition to the phone bank, employees volunteered to provide on-the-ground assistance at evacuation shelters and local assistance centers. While customers await news about their home and family members, AAA Volunteers are often there to provide a cup of coffee, share a stuffed animal for a child, or offer a sympathetic ear. These simple gestures of kindness can have a profound effect.
In anticipation of catastrophe-related needs, employees who deploy for emergencies receive up to 80 hours of paid time off to volunteer, and help position skilled labor, supplies and other critical resources before disaster strikes. In addition, training on personal preparedness, including courses in First Aid and CPR, is also available.
As demonstrated during the recent wildfires, as well as during other natural disasters, anyone can be impacted by catastrophic events. AAA Volunteers play a critical role in response and recovery, and provide for the safety and stability of our communities.
Last year, 99 percent of the employees at CSAA Insurance Group volunteered, largely because service is the cornerstone of the company’s community involvement efforts, and all of the company’s outreach programs are built around employee volunteerism.
Our employees tell us they choose to give back because they find the experience meaningful and rewarding. AAA Volunteers provides each of them with the opportunity to find ways to make a lasting difference, and know that they are contributing to something important.
Roger Hancock is a volunteer manager with more than 30 years of leadership experience creating and managing award-winning national corporate volunteer programs. He has managed the “AAA Volunteers” program since 2003, is a past-president of the Volunteer Centers of California, and has served under two governors on California’s Volunteer Service Commission.
Committed to serving AAA members for more than 100 years, CSAA Insurance Group offers AAA-branded automobile and homeowners insurance in 23 states and the District of Columbia