Under a new program launched today by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, volunteers will be trained and organized into the first in the US Disaster Corp.

The volunteers will register in their local communities under the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program, and will undergo training, certification, and security screening.

During the announcement of the new program, the California Governor said “California is always leading the way, and now we are the first state in the nation to integrate volunteers into our state emergency plan.”

Volunteers have assisted in past California disasters. Thousands came to help during and after the wildfires in 2007.  The state saw a need to better organize and coordinate disaster volunteers. Karen Baker was appointed by the Governor in February of 2008 to develop the Disaster Corp and serve as California’s Secretary of Service and Volunteering.

“The Disaster Corps program represents an amazing collaboration between state and local government, the nonprofit and private sectors and volunteers themselves,” said  Baker. “These volunteers represent a highly-trained resource that will ensure our first responders are supported and our communities are better prepared.”