Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a series being printed in September about preparing for emergencies.
Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) Volunteers is a community-based program that uses volunteers to respond to local emergencies or disasters. MRC program was officially launched as a national community-based movement in July 2002. Our mission is to establish a network of local medical and non-medical volunteers who are willing to assist before, during and after a public health emergency. MRC plays a major role in our community’s disaster preparedness and response strategy. It provides an organized way for medical and public health volunteers to put to work their skills and expertise during local crises and throughout the year.
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, thousands of Americans responded by volunteering their talents and skills to help others. Many more Americans asked “what can I do to help?” When disaster occurs, the minutes, hours and even days immediately following the event can quickly overwhelm local and even regional emergency and medical crews. MRC volunteers help bolster those numbers and supplement the care the regular emergency personnel can deliver. The ability to prepare or educate the community about what they can do to be prepared before disaster is critical in today’s times.
Champaign Health District has had an MRC unit since 2003. Champaign Heath District wants to say “Thank you” to all the volunteers’ many hours over the years. Examples of events Champaign County MRC volunteers participated in were flu clinics, trainings, and Emergency Preparedness exercises. Champaign County MRC unit is updating MRC database, recruiting and looking for volunteers to help with three new projects: Closed PODS sites (off site locations away from Champaign Health District where medications are dispensed to the public in a disaster), Volunteer Reception Center (greeting site for volunteers to register for duty if disaster occurs) and educators to help train the community on Emergency Preparedness.
Who can volunteer?
MRC volunteers are professionals who contribute their unique skills and expertise to help local residents. However, MRC volunteers can also include students, retirees and others who are committed to helping during a time of crisis.
MRC members must be at least 18 years or older, in good emotional and physical health, have a valid email address, have a willingness to assist the residents of Champaign County. United States citizenship is not required, however, proof of valid residence must be presented upon completion of the MRC Application. Members are required to maintain a valid Ohio driver’s license (or valid Ohio photo I.D.) and remain free of felony and serious misdemeanor convictions. The MRC member must be signed up on Ohio Responds and it is required to update your profile annually.
To meet the varying needs of both volunteers and local public health and emergency response agencies, the Champaign Health District MRC will offer two levels of participation. Volunteers can select the level that best meets their interests and needs.
Active – Volunteers who are interested in assisting with non-emergency community events and during a public health emergency.
Inactive – Volunteers who are only interested in volunteering in the event of a large-scale public health emergency
Liability Protection: Ohio Law provides liability protection to properly registered and trained MRC volunteers during local, state or federally declared emergencies, disasters, drills and trainings. The statute also exempts a registered volunteer’s personal information from public disclosure.
Right now, the Champaign County MRC is in need of the following specializations:
Physicians, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Pharmacists, Veterinarians, Licensed Social Worker, Mental Health Professional, Chaplin’s, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, Respiratory Therapists, Support volunteers.
Administrative and Support Personnel: Forms Handler, Screener, Greeter, Traffic Controller, Food Service Worker, Chaplin, Health educator/communicator, computer specialist.
Interested in Volunteering? The Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) provides a wide range of volunteer opportunities. Download an MRC application from the Champaign Health District website or Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/champaign.hd or go to OHIO RESPONDS and register.
Champaign MRC is looking for a volunteer educator to help with trainings, assisting with upgrading MRC database.
Annual Flu Clinic will be Monday, October 5, 2015 from 3:00 PM till 7:00 PM at Champaign Health District office. We are needing following volunteers: Registered Nurses, screeners, computer data entry, traffic/safety. Please contact Champaign Health District to assist you with updating your current MRC or assist you with getting you registered in OHIO Responds MRC.
Interested in learning more about what you can do be an MRC Volunteer? Schedule a subject matter expert to speak at your club or agency by calling Champaign Heath District at 937-484-1675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your willingness to serve Champaign County.
Jeanne Bowman is Emergency Preparedness/MRC Coordinator for the Champaign Health District.