Disaster preparedness is crucial for providing an effective response to, and reducing the possible impacts of, disasters. Although volunteers’ participation plays an important role in disaster preparedness, their actual participation in disaster preparedness activities is still low. To find ways to encourage more volunteers to participate, this study analyzed the social background and organizational and attitudinal factors affecting the volunteers’ willingness to participate. Questionnaires were distributed to 990 registered disaster volunteers across Beijing and the data were analyzed using linear regression models. Results revealed a weak willingness to participate in disaster preparedness. Only 28.08% of the respondents indicated that they were “very ready” to participate in voluntary disaster preparedness, and 14.65% showed “a little bit” of interest. The following was concluded: (1) Disaster volunteers’ social background variables were related to their willingness to participate in disaster preparedness. Compared to male volunteers, female volunteers were more willing to participate. Chinese Communist Party members were more willing to participate than non-members. (2) Providing accidental life insurance for the volunteers had a positive effect on their willingness to participate in disaster preparedness. Provision of more training had a negative effect on the volunteers’ willingness to participate, indicating a low quality of training. (3) Organizational identification was positively related to the volunteers’ willingness to participate. According to these results, we suggest that volunteer organizations should improve their standards and procedures for disaster volunteer recruitment and selection, and gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the disaster volunteers in order to better motivate them to participate.
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