evought's picture

In the Auxiliary, accountability comes down to our reporting process (e.g. activity logs, quarterly reports, after-action reviews), and, when necessary, disciplinary procedures. For egregious violations, we may be subject to civil and criminal process. Volunteers in Missouri are protected from some kinds of civil liability ("Good Samaritan" Law) such as medical malpractice if:

  • We are not paid
  • We are providing emergency assistance
  • We are performing within the limits of what we were trained to do

This last bullet also places some responsibility on trainers. If civil or criminal liability becomes an issue, we will need to demonstrate what training a volunteer received. For example, if we can demonstrate that a volunteer was trained to perform CPR, the volunteer performed CPR, and the victim died despite that (as is not uncommon), then we should be able to get a civil action dismissed. However, the trainer may have to present documents, or appear in a hearing or trial to make that happen. The same goes for demonstrating, for instance, that you have received training in the nature and limits of an officer's authority. A court will go back to those training materials to determine the types of things that you were trained/authorized to do.

Good records are a key to accountability: it was not written down, it did not happen. This also places a responsibility on our radio operators and net controllers to ensure that radio activity is logged as well as possible because the volunteer in the field up to their neck in alligators may not be able to write down everything they should when they should.

The disciplinary process is described in the next section of this course.