HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR VOLUNTEERING DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

Make sure you are IN GOOD HEALTH before volunteering

1. Determine whether or not it is safe for you and those in your household for you to volunteer in person, based on public health information and advice of your own health professionals. If not, please explore virtual volunteer opportunities. 

2. Avoid people over the age of 70 or those who have severe chronic illnesses and are thus at greater risk from COVID-19. It is your choice to volunteer or not. On the other hand, if you experience symptoms associated with COVID-19, you should not go to community organizations or public places. If in doubt, discuss your volunteering with your doctor. 

3. If you are able and willing to take the risks associated with in-person volunteering, find out about the practices in place in the organization to keep you safe and minimize the risk as much as possible.

4. The COVID-19 pandemic has required changes to routines and practices to keep volunteers, clients, and staff safe and healthy during volunteering.

5. Practices and protocols to protect volunteers may vary based on the organization’s mission, clients, and geography. Check with the volunteer manager at the organization where you are volunteering and get their specific guidelines.

6. If you are feeling unwell (particularly if you have trouble breathing, fever or cough), self-isolate and please refrain from volunteering; stay home for at least 10 days or as otherwise advised by public health authorities. If you have you recently returned from outside Canada, follow the recommendations issued by provincial health authorities and self-isolate for 14 days.

IN PREPARATION for volunteering

A. As you arrive to volunteer, the necessary sanitary equipment should be visible (water and soap, alcohol-based sanitizers, paper towels and Kleenex). The organisation will offer the basic essentials for volunteers. 

B. Wash your hands regularly and often with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) before and during your volunteering, and after touching food, door handles, phones, lights etc. Don’t forget to disinfect these surfaces with the products that should be available to you.

C. As you arrive, and for every shift, and after you’ve washed your hands, please sign a registry to not only confirm your attendance, but also to read the most updated safety protocols and/or notices issued by the organisation.

D. Avoid touching your face and surfaces people touch often. Do not share equipment or work-stations.

E. Be sure to keep a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) between you and others. Avoid shaking hands or any other physical contact.

F. Masks are now mandatory. Follow directions for proper use of masks. Masks should be supplied to you by the organization. Personal masks are acceptable but must always be cleaned. Disposable masks are preferred and can be worn for up to 4 hours.

G. Visors are considered to be an additional means of protection but not necessarily mandatory. If you do come in contact with users of your services, please verify the measures in place by the organization.

H. All basic protective equipment that is recommended by health authorities should be provided to you by the organization.

I. Bring your own food and beverages and, in order to minimize possible contagion, do not share with others.

J. Be sure to have completed the training related to your actual position and that you are aware of all the safety protocols in place.

K. Please feel free to make recommendations if a useful idea occurs to you.

L. If at any point while volunteering, you feel distressed or need to talk, contact your supervisor immediately.

M. If you don’t feel well a few days after volunteering, please contact the public health authorities and communicate with the organization.

For more information,info@volunteerwestisland.org .

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