Volunteers are an essential part of community resiliency. Whether it is a volunteer fire department responding to an emergency in a rural town or individual community members mucking out basements after a flood, local volunteerism is at the very core of resiliency. Although we typically think of disasters in terms of the response (putting out flames, evacuating people, securing an area, etc.) it is often preparedness and recovery efforts where volunteers are needed the most. All across the country volunteer driven Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units are doing just that—assembling, planning, training and teaching people about preparedness, so when the help is needed there are reliable groups of local volunteers ready to aid in response and recovery.
It is often said that all disasters start and end locally. MRC units are locally based teams of volunteers, who (despite the name) do much more than just medical response during a disaster. With high standards of training in all hazard preparedness, MRC units pull from all walks of life to build diverse teams in their volunteer management efforts.
The ability to fold into a larger response if a crisis expands beyond local capabilities is one defining feature of a resilient community. Training and guidance that come with volunteer management programs like the MRC, including Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS), help bridge the gap when an incident escalates beyond local capacity to respond, and outside agencies are necessary to incorporate into the efforts. Adding an MRC unit into local preparedness efforts is one proven strategy to build resiliency into a community before disaster strikes.
Statistics about the tremendous capabilities of MRC units are highlighted in the below infographic from The 2017 Network Profile of the Medical Reserve Corps study conducted by the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO). One such statistic includes that a staggering 96% of units verify medical credentials of volunteers, 80% verified through their state registry or ESAR-VHP.
To learn more about Public Health Emergency Preparedness volunteer opportunities at the state and local level visit the MRC website. To learn how the Knowledge Center Volunteer ManagementTM platform can support MRC in your area, contact Jared McCannell or schedule a demo here.