Washington Conservation Corps photo

Washington Conservation Corps

WCC Emergency Response

The Washington Conservation Corps has proven to be a vital resource for emergency response in Washington State and beyond. WCC crewmembers have responded to various disasters, including fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados and oil spills.


Information on 2012-2014 activities is coming soon!


2011 WCC Emergency Relief and Related Articles

January 17, 2011: Floods in Ellensburg

The WCC sent 16 people to respond to floods in and around Ellensburg. Thank you to Ernie Farmer, Mike Stowell, and Luke Wigle for their efforts coordinating this response. Thank you to the WCC Members for being available at a moment's notice to help a community in need.

2010 WCC Emergency Relief and Related Articles

December 12, 2010: Stanwood Flood Response

The WCC sent 8 WCC Members and Supervisors to flood response in Stanwood, Washington. Thank you to Meghan Kermott and Vic Bryant for their efforts coordinating this response. Thank you to the WCC Members for spending a Sunday filling and placing sandbags.

May 2010: Yazoo City, Mississippi tornado response

Our WCC responders returned early June from Emergency Response in Yazoo City, Mississippi where hundreds of homes were destroyed when a tornado struck on April 24th, 2010. Assistance from the WCC was requested on Monday, May 10th and the WCC recruited any and all available Corps Members for this effort. The WCC deployed 30 WCC members and staff on Wednesday, May 12th to assist in cleanup efforts, shelter operations, volunteer coordination and recovery.

2009 WCC Emergency Relief and Related Articles

Ecology's Washington Conservation Corps deployed to Spokane - Department of Ecology Press Release, 1-6-09

January 5, 2009 - Outside the snow is falling and Spokane is calling... The over-abundance of snow is pushing the weight limits of the structures in Eastern Washington.  Two school districts,  Riverside High School and Medical Lake's high school and middle school, called the WCC for help. There are currently 40 Corpsmembers (8 crews) all over the rooftops of  buildings in Spokane. Some of the crews were sent over to the Department of Ecology's Eastern Region office where people were sent home due to safety concerns.

10 other Corpsmembers (2 crews)  armed with warm clothes and snow shovels in Packwood.

News Articles

2008 WCC Emergency Relief and Related Articles

September 25, 2008 - The Washington Conservation Corps crewmembers and supervisors have returned home safely.  The crews have completed a very successful 25 day deployment working in shelters, assessing damage, tarping roofs, delivering supplies, debris removal and mucking out houses.  WCC is not sending crews in October because the new AmeriCorps year is starting and Supervisors have to hire new members while the current crews term comes to an end.  There is potential for more WCC assistance in November if needed. 

September 17, 2008 - All 50 WCC members are headed to Chauvin, Louisiana, about 1 1/2 hours south of Baton Rouge to continue their clean-up efforts.  They will be staying at the City Recreation center in Montegut, La.  Most of their work will consist of blue tarping and gutting homes of water logged, moldy furniture, sheetrock, paneling, and flooring.  Most of the houses they will be working on are on stilts, which has saved a number of homes from being completely submerged.

The crews are planned to arrive back at SeaTac Airport on September 25th.  They will likely bring with them a lack of sleep, heavy hearts and memories from the devastation of Hurricane Gustav and Ike.

September 13, 2008 - Hurricane Ike crashes into the Texas coast taking with it precious lives and memories.  No WCC members were physically hurt, but all were affected by the devastation that they were sent to live, breathe, and then help clean up.

September 2, 2008 - Hurricane Gustav may not have been Katrina, but that does not mean there isn't plenty of work to be done before families can return to their homes or even their neighborhoods.  With the Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS) and FEMA, the WCC has sent over 50 people (about 1/3 of the Corpsmembers and crew supervisors) down to assist in the clean up efforts in Louisiana.  Many of them have only just returned from Iowa and did not hesitate to jump back into their big blue trucks and head south to help those in need.

New Orleans, September 1, 2008 (US Coast Guard/Associated Press)

They have been sent on a 30-deployment that starts in Shreveport, Louisiana.  As the damages are assessed in the area, crews will likely be sent to where the help is needed.

August 15, 2008 - Corpsmember Perry Onorio reflects back on his experience in Iowa.

Big Impact in Little Oakville, Iowa (Perry Onorio, August 2008)

July 30, 2008 - The crews are back, safe and sound, but not without the memories of the devastation in Iowa (the crews will share some of their stories soon).  Perry Onorio, one of the crew members that traveled down to Iowa to provide relief, has decided to stay back to help. 

In it for the Long Haul (Muscatine Journal, 7/9/08)

Volunteers Advance on Iowa's Muck (Des Moines Register, 8/3/08)

July 3, 2008 - While we sit back and enjoy the festivities of Independence Day, two WCC crews will be driving across the county to assist a small community in Iowa heavily impacted by severe flooding.  Oakville, Iowa is a small town in Southeastern Iowa right on the Illinois border completely submerged by the rising waters.  Most of the houses were flooded right up to the roof tops.  The WCC crews will do everything from organizing volunteer groups, setting up warehouses, distributing goods, debris removal, and just about anything else that needs to be done. Oakville, Iowa - June 2008

July 8, 2008 - The two crews arrived in Oakville on Sunday afternoon and were immediately put to work helping to organize the response.  Much of the town was still inundated with water from the breached dike and flood warnings were still in effect.  By this morning over 200 volunteers comprised of residents, church groups, neighboring aid personnel and a Minnesota Conservation Corps Crew were on the scene. 

Bob Milner, our lead supervisor on the ground and a veteran of many missions to assist communities struck by natural disasters stated that "there is a lot of work to be done and we are relishing the challenges." The challenges include the daily thunderstorms, the stifling humidity and the dreaded mosquitoes. Some members are assisting in a variety of logistical work while others have started clearing damaged items from houses while waiting for the flood waters to recede from much of the town. 

Previous response efforts:

SW Washington Flood Response (2007)                                                                        
Missouri Ice Storms (2007)
Washington state floods (2006)
Oregon and California wildfires (2006)
Florida Hurricane Response (2004)
View Pictures and stories from Hurricane Katrina Response Efforts (2005/2006)

Every WCC Crewmember, trained in disaster response, must be available for dispatch to any natural or man-made disaster. With possible Red Cross training and Wilderness Advanced First Aid (with the potential upgrade to Wilderness First Responder), WCC members will be invaluable resources to their communities.

The WCC offers a 40 hour wildland firefighter certification through our participating sponsors such as the US Forest Service, National Parks and Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Corpsmembers who have obtained Red Card Certification may fight fire in any part of the country. Red Card and other certifications offered within the WCC prove valuable to Corpsmembers interested in working with Federal and State Natural Resource agencies.

Additionally, members receive training in some of the following courses:

  • Wilderness Advance First Aid
  • Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) and Advanced First Aid
  • Red Cross Disaster Relief Training
  • Wildland Firefighter Certification
  • Spill Response
  • Search and Rescue
  • Hazardous Materials Training

Questions or comments about Emergency Response?

Contact Roland McGill - (360) 407-6077