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Volunteers helping the 1800 people affected by Hurricane Katrina (2005) in Houston, Texas
Ithaca influenza epidemic workers, July 1919. A large crowd of people who were working as volunteers during the influenza epidemic. The group includes, doctors, nurses, ladies and schoolchildren, pictured outside the Ithaca Women's Emergency Corps kitchen.

A volunteer is someone who helps a common cause and who does not expect to get paid for it. There are many cases, such as cleaning up after a disaster, where anyone can help. There are many cases, though, where the volunteers are trained specialists. Examples for these are the volunteer fire departments or a doctor or nurse working for organisations such as the Red Cross. Another example are the people guiding police dogs, which may be trained for emergency rescue.

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