Volunteer Handbook

Thank you for signing up as a Community Reserve Volunteer.

Please click here to download our Community Reserve Volunteer handbook which contains some useful information about the role, including a Q&A and mutual expectations. You will also find additional information about the British Red Cross, and links to other resources to help you prepare for emergencies.

Below is a checklist of the most important things you need to know before, during and after your shift as a Community Reserve Volunteer.

Community Reserve Volunteer checklist:

Before you leave:

  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • Make sure you have eaten and bring a snack and drink with you.
  • Don’t forget your photo ID.

When you arrive at your destination:

  • Follow the instructions in your SMS message on who to inform of your arrival.
  • Complete a sign-in sheet.
  • Await a briefing.
  • Inform your team leader of any health or support issues you have, so that we can support you in your role.


  • The briefing is the information that you receive before you start any activities. This ensures that you understand your task and what is expected of you.
  • Briefings will always be given at the start of a shift and, where necessary, regular updates will be provided.
  • During the briefing you will be given all the necessary training required for your role, and appropriate health and safety information.

During your shift

  • Should you have any queries or concerns during your shift, please report to your team leader.
  • Refreshments will be made available throughout your shift.
  • If approached by the media, please direct them to your team leader.

At the end of your shift

  • Don’t leave without informing your team leader.
  • Attend the debriefing to provide feedback and raise any comments or concerns.
  • Don’t take any kit home that you have borrowed from the Red Cross during your shift.


  • The debriefing allows us to learn from what we do and help continuously improve our work. A debrief will take place at the end of your shift.
  • A debrief is important and provides a space to discuss your experience and raise any concerns you may have. You will be able to evaluate what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what could be done better next time. It is also a time for you to receive a well-deserved thank you, recognising your effort and hard work.