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Disaster Healthcare Volunteers

The Disaster Healthcare Volunteers (DHV) Program ensures that, in the event of a disaster, credentialed volunteer medical and health staff will be deployed to assist in response and recovery efforts.

In July 2007, the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) established the DHV program as the overarching program for medical volunteers in California. As such, the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) has been folded into the DHV System. +more

California is in the process of developing the Disaster Healthcare Volunteers Program (which includes the ESAR-VHP component). As is the case nationally, many complex policy and implementation issues serve as the challenge to scope, design, implement, and evaluate Disaster Healthcare Volunteers System — as well as utilize the registry tool in its most useful and efficient manner.

California’s DHV System will be supported by a robust registry where individuals can register and their data and will be maintained for potential disaster use. At this time, medical volunteers are the primary entity being registered within this statewide system. The DHV Program is being designed as a statewide system, which operates in coordination with the state’s Operational Area emergency medical services and public health officials, to recruit, register, credential, track, identify, deploy, and maintain currently licensed volunteer healthcare professionals for response to emergencies, disasters and terrorist incidents in California and throughout the nation.

Register with the State

To volunteer with DHV you must first register with the State at California’s DHV website (click on “Register Now” at the bottom of the page to get started).

Through the secure web-based registry you can indicate your volunteer preferences and enter information about your skills.  Registration allows DHV to: 

  • Verify your license and certifications
  • Offer training opportunities
  • Estimate how many volunteers might be available
  • Match your skills with the needs required in any emergency situation

Only administrators involved in the maintenance of the DHV system or the deployment of volunteers will have access to the information in the system. The information will not be sold, shared, or otherwise made available to other parties.

The DHV Program will automatically notify you in the case of a disaster and track your deployment.  If you have any questions about DHV or about registration, please contact us (or email us at

Additional Resources