There are many types of jobs and duties that are needed in most emergencies. Some require special training and/or good physical condition; others do not. Our unit will provide continual training and exercises to raise members skill levels and capabilities in different areas, but the average citizen can be a valuable member of the unit.
Presently members need to be 18 or older and will need to have a background check run on them. Interested parties also need to fill out an application form and be rostered as member of the unit for insurance purposes.
What an individual might be doing during an emergency would depend on many factors: the nature and extent of the emergency, their physical condition, their skills and previous experience, their own preferences, duties needed, just to name a few. Following are a few examples.
MEDICAL: Assist with first aid, vaccinating, qualified medical care, etc.
- Assist with call downs of other volunteers, giving updates, and disseminating other information.
- Staff assistance with emergency shelters: meal preparation, supplies distribution, guest information and coordination, special needs, handicap assistance, transportation, etc
- Assist in various duties associated with manning a Mass delivery Point of Distribution (POD) site for emergency medications or vaccinations. IE: The H1N1 clinics conducted in 2009/2010.
- Wipe down and sanitizing an infected building.
Respond as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member. (See CERT in other handouts)
- Assist with some security & surveillance missions with local law enforcement.
- Some direct medical treatment assistance (depending on training and abilities)
What if some emergency comes up, or some exercise or training is planned that I cannot assist with or participate in?
Nobody is required to attend or assist with any emergency, training or exercise that they are not able to participate in. There could be situations where a volunteers skills or qualifications might not be needed and they might not be called upon. Every volunteer’s own family and personal situations will have priority in an emergency and nobody would be expected to respond when their own responsibilities and obligations would prohibit it. Everyone is of course encouraged to attend any exercise or training that becomes available whenever possible.
There is a chance that MRC volunteers could be called up by a State or Federal Authority to respond to a larger regional incident. This type of mission would be controlled and coordinated by the Office of Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMRC). This office is tasked “to develop procedures that will be used to deploy willing, able, and approved MRC volunteers outside their local jurisdiction as part of the federal response to public health and medical emergencies”. This would usually not be as a unit but individuals or small groups who are willing to accept this role. Again it would strictly be on a volunteer basis. In the past the only MRC members in the state that have been called out have been medically trained individuals: IE: Doctors, Nurses, EMT’s etc.
If I help with some emergency that involves exposure to some biological agent, disease, or other hazardous substance, what kinds of safeguards or assurance do I have that I will be protected?
There are First Responders in our community that are specially trained and have protective equipment for handling those kinds of circumstances. It would never be the intent of the HCHD or any other responding organization to knowingly place a MRC volunteer in a situation that would unduly expose them to those sorts of risks. Our duties and assistance would normally be in support roles. Having said that, there are certain missions of MRC volunteers that might be more hazardous, such as serving on a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) that do more hands on/at the scene type of things. These folks also receive special training and have special equipment
Anyone can drop out of the program at any time and can be considered again later if they wish. An email or letter stating that intention is all that is needed.