Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) Responder

Location: CAN - Flexible
Closing Date:

* Job postings close at midnight, Eastern Time Zone (EST)



Disaster Management – Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) Responder

Volunteer – Two (2) Years, Renewable

Various locations throughout Canada


The Canadian Red Cross Society, a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to helping Canadians, as well as the most vulnerable throughout the world, is accepting applications for Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) Responder volunteer positions in the Disaster Management (DM) department. Reporting to the PDA Supervisor, the PDA Responder will be responsible to fill various on-call shifts on a 24/7 schedule that includes weekends, holidays and evenings. When called on to respond, the PDA Responder will be required to provide relief directly to clients in need of assistance. All Red Cross programs and activities are guided by the Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality. These principles allow us to provide help immediately to whoever needs it, wherever they are, whatever their race, political beliefs, religion, social status, or culture.


Job Summary:

The Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) Team is activated to respond and provide assistance for up to the first 72 hours following a disaster. The incumbent of this position is responsible for conducting a needs assessment to determine the needs of the clients. The PDA Responder will provide, as appropriate to agreements with the local authorities, Emergency Social Services (ESS) for relief, referral services and direct assistance for recovery, as well as, works with the PDA Supervisor to plan and organize ongoing preparedness activities. They may be asked to deliver services during a large-scale emergency response in their community.



Responsibility 1. Disaster Response


  • Conduct client needs assessments to determine immediate, short and long-term needs of clients;

  • Provide appropriate services based on the Technical Standards and the National Disaster Assistance Guidelines;

  • Provide referrals to partner agencies and other community based groups;

  • Communicate and report on progress, as appropriate, to the PDA Supervisor;

  • Provide comfort to clients;

  • Complete necessary paperwork (i.e. Goods and Services Vouchers, Client Needs Assessments and others as appropriate);

  • Communicate complex cases to PDA Supervisor for provision of appropriate case management services;

  • Participate in operational debriefings and provide suggestions for improvement.         

Responsibility 2. Preparedness Activities


  • Actively engage in team preparedness activities including emergency planning and kit preparedness;

  • Attend meetings as required;

  • Support PDA Supervisor in materials/inventory management;

  • Support with supplier agreements, as appropriate;

  • Support the PDA Supervisor in planning and organizing services.

Contributes to a healthy and safe working environment.

Performs other duties, as required.


The incumbent must have the commitment to the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Movement and model the core competencies of the CRCS: team excellence, service excellence, accountability and results focused.

  • This position requires a satisfactory Canadian criminal record reference check.

  • This position requires a satisfactory vulnerable sector check

  • Valid driver's license is required if driving for society business; clear driver’s abstract (3 years) required if using Red Cross vehicles; access to transportation is mandatory

Education and Experience:

  • Completion of High School Diploma and/or equivalent experience;

  • Experience in an emergency environment is an asset.


  • Understanding of Red Cross role in disaster response, relief and recovery, an asset

  • Computer literacy is an asset

Skills and Abilities:

  • Language requirements vary - responders must be able to deliver services as appropriate

  • Customer service skills - provides comfort and care, patience in dealing with upset clients, active listening to understanding needs, finding a solution and good communication so client understands services available and how to obtain

  • Communication skills - verbal and non-verbal cues, active listening, clearly able explain self and confirm understanding from client

  • Attention to detail - accuracy in completing forms, giving information, completing necessary paperwork

  • Ability to work well within a team - share information, be helpful, respectful, approachable, build strong relationships

  • Dependable - timely, takes initiative and ownership of work, completes tasks without being asked or with little supervision

  • Remains calm during a crisis - does not allow emotions to get in the way, does not take things personally, stays positive, responds decisively

Working Conditions:

  • Potential for responding in disaster areas, as well as difficult and unstable conditions (environmental, physical, social, etc.) and uncomfortable conditions (noise, odours, smoke, humidity, vulnerable clients). These environments have the potential to affect the overall wellbeing of the responders on site.

  • The incumbent may need to stand for several hours.

  • The incumbent may need to lift up to 20 kg of relief supplies during preparedness activities and during response.

  • Ability to respond during non-traditional hours (i.e. late night or weekends) and long hours of work in a demanding context.

  • Ability to be on-call when scheduled, as required.

A valid provincial driver’s licence and First Aid Certification (training provided) is required. This position also requires a successful Canadian criminal record check with vulnerable sector screening. Candidates must be 18 years of age or older. The Canadian Red Cross Society is an equal opportunity employer.


While we appreciate all responses, only candidates under consideration will be contacted.




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