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Margaret Melsh

From 1994 until January 2006, as founding director of Ready to Respond (, a Bay Area partnership of Volunteer Centers, Margaret oversaw the design and implementation of a regional system for involving spontaneous volunteers in disaster relief and recovery. Drawing on her experience managing volunteer response to earthquakes, floods and fires, she designed and conducted training and exercises for hundreds of local agencies and organizations. She also provided consultation and support to communities throughout the country facing a disaster and, on behalf of Points of Light Foundation, trained more than 200 Volunteer Centers nationwide.

Margaret has written disaster volunteer plans for a number of agencies. In collaboration with California Service Corps, she co-wrote with Kelle Remmel a disaster volunteer plan template for use by cities and counties throughout California, as well as a draft of the state disaster volunteer plan. She served as President of Northern California Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster from 2004 to 2006. Her publications include Ready to Respond: Disaster Preparedness and Response for Volunteer Centers (
) and Getting Ready for Disaster Volunteers: A Guide for Community-based Organizations (
). She currently works as a free-lance consultant in the field of emergency management.