Last updated at 3:00PM on June 9, 2023Disaster Resource Center sign in multiple languages

A Disaster Resource Center, or DRC, is a physical location that is activated to respond to the needs of people in the community who are affected by disaster or an incident. DRCs may include dormitory services. During an emergency response, the Department of County Human Services takes the lead for supporting Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6 functions. This is the coordination of mass care, emergency assistance and human services. The DRC model is often used to open spaces for people to come to in severe weather.  For example, cooling centers in the summer or warming centers in the winter. In essence, these shelters are DRCs.

Who staffs our Disaster Resource Center(s)?

The DRC Team consists of onsite positions - Person In Charge (PIC), General Staff with support by Behavioral Health and Medical staff; in addition to a team of remote support from an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team. These positions are filled by staff and volunteers from Multnomah County, staff from the City of Portland, Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) team, among many others. 

The Person in Charge (PIC) position is responsible for the management of operations during an assigned shift. The PIC manages all staff assigned to the site during each shift, supporting each in their role and identifying additional resources necessary for the team to be successful. 

The General Staff position performs a variety of roles necessary to run a DRC. This position is supervised by a PIC (Person in Charge) and may include working at Reception, monitoring a Food and Beverage station, bathroom attendant, supplies and inventory management, and Safety Monitoring. The specific roles depend on the type of DRC that is being operated, and staff will be rotated through roles during each of their shifts.

Fore more information, here are some examples of Position Descriptions:

General Staff Position Description Updated December 2023 (122.36 KB)

Person in Charge Position Description Updated January 2024 (130.79 KB)

Shelter Setup Lead Position Description Updated November 2023 (106.04 KB)

Shelter Setup Staff Position Description Updated November 2023 (103.51 KB)

Behavioral Health Staff Position Description Updated Jan 2024 (111.12 KB)

How do I join the Disaster Resource Center Team? 

Interested in learning how to get involved in volunteering at Severe Weather Shelters & Disaster Resource Centers?  Fill out the Community Volunteer Interest Form to be notified about opportunities.

2023 Disaster Resource Center Staff Training Guide (178.21 KB)

All required and recommended trainings are web-based.

If you'd like to get started - all DRC staff are required to complete our online training video series. The series includes eighteen (18) short videos covering important considerations anyone working in a DRC should be aware of, like Structure of a DRC, Pets, and Trauma Informed Care. Watch the trailer for DRC Staff Training Videos:

  • For Multnomah County Employees, use the Workday Learning portal to access "Disaster Resource Center Online Training." Like all Workday courses, this training requires supervisor's approval. Once they provide this, you will be able to access our videos. To complete the course, you are required to watch every video and complete the short quizzes that follow. Disaster Service Worker Frequently Asked Questions (for county staff only) is available here.
  • For Non County Employees, the videos can be found on the Multnomah County Human Services YouTube Channel (After clicking on this link, search for "Disaster Resource Center Staff Training" Playlist).
    • Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) Members: Training videos can be found through the link above. NET members are expected to complete a quiz through ExamProfessor following watching the videos.

Additional Training Opportunitites

None Scheduled at this time, please check back at a later date.

What is a Disaster Resource Center (DRC)?  
June 2021 Cooling Shelter workers
June 2021 Cooling Shelter workers

DRC Guiding Principles

 Service delivery, staff and volunteers are held accountable to these principles:

  • Resources will be distributed based on life safety and humanitarian need.

  • We are here to help.

  • Everyone coming to the DRC has experienced some form of trauma.

  • Keep families together.

  • Do the most good for the most people, in response to the greatest need.

  • Personal information is confidential. Informed consent is required to release any personal information.

  • Background checks are required to work in areas with elevated privacy or security risk.

  • Minimum of three staff at a time are required to work in any area of the DRC.

  • Unaccompanied children are never alone in any area of the DRC, for any reason. A minimum of two staff are required with a young unaccompanied child(ren). Older unaccompanied minors may “go with a peer”.

  • Accommodations must be made for residents unable to access services (e.g., people with disabilities and other access and functional needs, and people needing to remain in private restricted-access areas).

  • Only the Public Information Officer communicates with the media.

  • DRC services are available to all DRC staff, including volunteer staff.

Where are Disaster Resource Centers?

The temporary location of a DRC is determined by assessing who is most affected by an emergency or hazard and where they are located within the County. Possible locations are identified ahead of time by working internally and externally with our partners, like faith-based organizations and/or school districts to complete walkthroughs. During walkthroughs, information is gathered about accessibility, square footage, bathrooms and other useful features (such as showers and food prep area). When the need for a DRC has been identified, a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team assesses the hazard and the need to decide the number of locations, where in the County DRC(s) should be located and what services may be needed.

DRC Essential Services

The availability of services will vary based on event timeline and accessibility.

Food Services - Snacks and water will always be included in DRC operations. Efforts will be made to accommodate infants, children, older adults and individuals with special dietary food allergies, cultural and religious requirements. Meals will be provided if the DRC will be operations 4 hours beyond any of the given meal times (7am, 12pm, 6pm)

Safety - The DRC will be a safe environment for guests and staff. A low-barrier system for tracking the number of guests who enter and depart from the DRC will be implemented by staff; staff are required to sign in and out. 

Translation and Interpretation Services - On demand translation services will always be available at a DRC through in person translators or interpreters or through Virtual Remote Interpretation (VRI). 

Pet Services - Pets and service animals are always welcome at the DRC. The provision of services like crates, veterinary care, boarding, and transportation will vary based on incident needs. Livestock will be managed separately.

Disaster Behavioral Health (DBH) Services - The provision of mental health, substance abuse, and stress management services to disaster survivors and responders at a DRC. DBH interventions are designed to address incident-specific stress reactions, rather than ongoing or developmental behavioral health needs.

Assessment & Referral Services - Continuous assessment of  the needs of guests to determine if additional services need to be activated in the DRC or whether the guest will be referred to existing services outside the DRC.

Accessible Information Services - Keep guests informed of current Joint Information Center (JIC) approved incident specific information via formal briefings, information boards, or by simply answering questions as they arise.

DRC Additional Services:

Additional services offered at a DRC, based on availability and guest needs, may include but are not limited to: clothing/personal care services, dormitory services, medical services, housing assistance.

Who is a DRC for?Cots at a Disaster Resource Center dormitoryMultnomah County's All Are Welcome logo in multiple languages

A DRC is a community response resource and ALL ARE WELCOME.

All are welcome is our DRC overarching value. Values create a moral compass that guides attitudes, actions and decision-making in a DRC. The DRC values include:

  • Safety: We avoid exposure to further harm and support the right to life and privacy of information.

  • Inclusion: Everyone, everywhere in need of shelter services in Multnomah County is welcome in our shelters.

  • Universal Accessibility: Shelter locations and services are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

  • Equity: Resources and services are distributed to prevent disparate impact across our communities, in proportion to need and without discrimination.

  • Compassion: We value each other’s perspectives and situations.

  • Respect: We treat others the way we wish to be treated.

  • Dignity: We respect the inherent value and worth of each person.

Other Related Resources

Multnomah County Behavioral Health Call Center: 503-988-4888 or toll free at 1-800-716-9769. Hearing-impaired dial: 711. The crisis line provides 24/7 crisis counseling by phone, with translation services for non-English speakers. 

Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC): 503-988-3646 or email This resource provides 24-hour information and assistance to seniors (older people), people with disabilities, and caregivers.

Multnomah County Department of Human Services (DCHS): Visit DCHS’s website. This department is the lead for Mass Care Services in the County.

Multnomah County Office of Emergency Management (MCEM): Visit MCEM’s website. MCEM activates an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support DRCs.

Red Cross Partners: The American Red Cross is a very important partner in DRC operations. For more information on the Red Cross program, please visit their website.

Trauma Intervention Program (TIP): Office: 502-823-3937. 24-hour: 503-940-7997. TIP is a group of specially trained citizen volunteers who provide emotional aid and practical support and resources to victims of traumatic events and their families in the first few hours following a tragedy. TIP Volunteers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs): Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) are Portland residents trained by Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods. NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive. Find out how to get involved here.