Mega-Shelter Assistance Team (MAT) Volunteer Opportunities with the American Red Cross

The Mega-Shelter Assistance Team is a partnership project between IAVM and the American Red Cross.  Its purpose is to connect a IAVM facility managers with significant facility management skills and experience with the Red Cross in the event of a major disaster that requires the operation of a mega-shelter. 

Mega-Shelter Assistance Team (MAT)

The Red Cross’ ability to immediately respond to disaster incidents requires not only Red Cross employees and trained disaster volunteers, but also specifically-skilled, quickly mobilized volunteers who can fill specific needs.  The MAT is comprised of such uniquely qualified volunteers with significant senior leadership experience in public assembly facility management and knowledge of mega-sheltering.

Mega-Shelter Assistance Teams will generally consist of two experienced facility managers who will be deployed to a disaster-affected area to assist the Red Cross in the initiation of mega-shelter operations.  This support may include assistance with the following: identification of facilities; negotiation of license agreements; identification of requisite resources; allocation of space; coordination of the numerous participating agencies; and the initial operation of a mega-shelter.  Teams will be assembled with the best combination of skills and experience based upon the situation and location.  A MAT assignment will typically last from 5 to 10 days based on travel and other factors.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.  Each year, the American Red Cross responds immediately to more than 70,000 disasters, including house or apartment fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and other natural and man-made disasters.

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s immediate emergency disaster-caused needs.  When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides safe shelter, food, emergency supplies, health and mental health services to address these immediate needs.  In addition to immediate services, Red Cross response includes assistance to enable individual and families to resume their normal daily activities independently.  Volunteers constitute over 90% of the Red Cross workforce and all Red Cross assistance is given free of charge, made possible by the generous contribution of the public’s time, money, and skills. 

For the MAT program, the Red Cross will offer online Red Cross disaster training courses to venue staff and provide deployment assistance including travel arrangements and related expenses to assigned MAT members.

International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)

IAVM is the ‘Acknowledged Leader’ regarding public assembly facility management and has members experienced in utilizing arena, stadiums, convention centers, and the like for unconventional uses such as mega-shelters.  

For the MAT program, IAVM will gather information regarding the skills and expertise of interested volunteers, maintain a database of interested professionals, and share this information the American Red Cross.  The Red Cross will support MAT applicants through their volunteer engagement process including access to the Red Cross’ volunteer management and learning management systems, online training, notification of potential deployment opportunities and deployment.

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By joining the Mega-Shelter Assistance Team program, individuals will be part of a vital team supporting the American Red Cross and IAVM’s efforts to safely and efficiently shelter large numbers of people displaced by disaster.


Thank you to our global partners.