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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Major local emergencies can overwhelm the capability of first responders, especially during the first 72 hours. Having residents who are prepared to take care of themselves, their families, and others during times of crisis will allow first-responders to focus their efforts on the most critical, life threatening situations.

An organized, well trained Emergency Management Unit means that volunteers can effectively respond to an emergency, are familiar with their community’s response plan, know what materials are available for use, know who their partners in response are, and know where their skills can be utilized to their best advantage.


To be a registered volunteer emergency worker, you must: 

  • Complete the online application form listed below.
  • Pass a background check. 
  • Maintain current contact information, including email and phone number. 
  • Meet the particular requirements of the program you are volunteering for.  Visit each program page for details. 
  • Renew to become a registered volunteer emergency worker every three years. 

Please note, when people register with TCEM, they are also considered to be emergency workers with the State of Washington WAC 118-04 This gives volunteers certain coverage when volunteering with TCEM.  Training and missions are typically within Thurston County, though these could be in other areas.

What Happens Next?

  • Within 30 days, TCEM will process the application. This includes verifying credentials and completing a background check.  Once your application is fully processed, TCEM will print an ID badge.
  • The registered volunteer emergency worker must complete any required training and/or credential. Each program tracks its own training. 
  • Each volunteer emergency worker should review the Thurston County Volunteer Handbook.
  • If an emergency happens, TCEM will notify qualified registered volunteer emergency workers. We will ask volunteers for their availability.
  • Volunteers should consider personal life safety and family safety first. Then, registered volunteer emergency workers will opt to accept a mission or decline.  If you decline, you may choose to volunteer at another time for another mission. 
  • TCEM will confirm the registered volunteer emergency worker’s availability. Please note, TCEM may manage a mission or it may be managed by a partner agency.  
  • Registered volunteer emergency workers will need to muster at their mission gathering spot. Bring your TCEM badge and sign-in.  There, the team lead will brief you before you begin your tasks. 
  • Each program may have slight variations on this process.  Check with your program lead or the TCEM Volunteer Coordinator via email or by phone (360) 867-2800.

Each emergency worker is an integral part of emergency preparedness for Thurston County.  No matter what you volunteered to do at first, we may ask for your help in the event of a major emergency or disaster. Your availability and qualifications determine how or when we request your help. Thank you in advance. 

Open Volunteer Application in full screen

Volunteer Handbook