Liability

One concern of having emergency response volunteers is the liability. What if they get injured? What if they injure someone or destroy property while responding? What risks do you assume? What endorsement are you providing by issuing them a badge with your jurisdiction and agency on it?

These questions should be posed to your agency and/or jurisdictions legal council.

Washington State does provide liability coverage for emergency response volunteers through the Emergency Worker Program. This is a cost reimbursement program that provides either immunity or indemnification to the emergency worker, their supervisor, the agency they were reporting to and the facility at which they were volunteering for the acts provided by the emergency worker as long they were not gross negligence or operating with willful misconduct. In order to receive this liability coverage, the emergency worker must be registered, they must be operating under a mission number, and they must be performing their assigned mission. This liability coverage also applies to training sessions and exercises as long as the same criteria are met.

See WAC 118.04 for more information. Necessary forms can be found at: http://emd.wa.gov/search_rescue/sar_forms.shtml