Office of Emergency Services - Emergency Volunteer Center

Cooling Center - Cooling Center Volunteers

Cooling Center Volunteers will help with the day-to-day operations at a City of Sacramento or Faith-based Cooling Center.  Volunteers will help provide a safe and cool respite from extreme heat to vulnerable populations: seniors, medically fragile, the homeless, people who do not have working air conditioning and sometimes, their pets. 

 Be mindful that there is much diversity in our local population.  At times, we may experience those who need medical attention, those who create conflict, or those who may attempt to engage in drug use during their brief visit.  It is important that we exhibit good judgment and move forward to handle each occurrence with professionalism and assertive direction, while at the same time extending a kind heart and understanding.


Skills, qualifications or requirements for assignment:

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organization
  • Team worker
  • Administrative skills helpful
  • Resourcefulness
  • Flexibility
  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Open-minded
  • Levelheaded and balanced judgment
  • Previous experience working with homeless individuals and seniors is welcome, but not required


Overall Duties and Responsibilities:

Volunteers, under direction of lead staff, will assist Cooling Center guests as they escape the heat at a local community or faith-based facility. Please note that shift times will vary as they are determined by the Cooling Center Host Site. Duties will include:


Intake Shift (first shift):

  • Check in with the Cooling Center point person upon arrival.
  • Help to prepare and open the center (put a date on the volunteer sign in sheet and guest statistics sheet, set out drinks, snacks, and pet kennels (if available).
  • Sign the volunteer waiver and volunteer sign-in sheet
  • Put on a volunteer name tag.
  • Unlock facility and/or assist facility point person.
  • Welcome guests and offer snacks and drinks.  For example:  “Good afternoon, welcome to the cooling center!  We would like to offer you a bottle of cold water and two snacks of your choice.”  
  • Explaining the services available at the cooling center For Example: “We offer free Wi-Fi, instructions are here (show login information, or hand out, if applicable) and we have reading material (cards, games, etc.) for your pleasure.”
  • Checking in participants by completing forms to collect participant data.
  • Assisting with closure of the center (second shift)


Closing Shift (last shift):

  • Help close the center by gently informing them that the center will close in 30 minutes.  This allows guests ample time to gather their belongings, pack items, secure their pets on leashes, etc.  You may offer a second remind 10 minutes prior to closing. 
  • Secure garbage and dispose in dumpster, if applicable. 
  • Secure water back in refrigerator and snacks back in appropriate storage container.
  • Clean up
  • Wipe down tables, counters etc. if applicable.
  • Return volunteer waiver, sign-in sheet, guest data sheet and volunteer name tag to binder, envelope or storage container.
  • Lock facility and/or assist facility point person.

Training Provided: Written instructions available in the Cooling Center binder on-site.  On-site training provided by on site staff.


Benefits of Volunteering:  Gain an understanding of homelessness in Sacramento, share your organizational skills, and support administrative tasks. 


Qualifications Required

  • Minimum age Must be Age 18 or older