Indian River County Medical Reserve Corps
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Contact Information
1900 27th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
What is the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)?
President Bush tasked the Department of Health and Human Services with developing and implementing the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). In March, 2002, the Office of the Surgeon General undertook the responsibility of developing the MRC program. MRC is a partner program with Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security. Citizen Corps, along with the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Peach Corps, are part of the President's USA Freedom Corps, which promotes volunteerism and service nationwide. MRC is a community-based volunteer unit comprised of local health care professionals. MRC units provide health professionals with an organized mechanism through which they can volunteer their time and skills to strengthen their communities by preparing for, and responding to large scale emergencies.
Why is it Needed?
After the events of September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans responded by volunteering to help in any way they could. In order to be most effective during times of emergency, volunteers must be organized and trained to work in emergency situations. MRC is designed to provide organizational structure and promote appropriate training of volunteers for communities.
What is the Purpose of the MRC?
By design, all MRC units are local. The MRC initiative is built on the concept that communities can help themselves by organizing volunteer resources from within. The purpose of the Indian River County Medical Reserve Corps is to:
- Recruit and credential medical volunteers before the time of crisis
- Create a framework to match volunteers' skills with their community's needs
- Train health professionals to respond better to the needs of the individual communities, thereby enhancing local emergency response efforts
- Provide reserve capacity at the community level to respond to local health needs and priorities
- Enhance the efficiency of the existing health care system during a disaster involving a large number of casualties
Who can Volunteer for the MRC?
- Practicing, retired, or otherwise employed medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, nurses' assistants, and others
- Public health professionals
- Community members without medical training can assist with administrative and other essential support functions
- United States citizenship is not required to be part of the MRC. Non-citizen, legal U.S. residents are also welcome to volunteer and contribute their time, knowledge, and skills to help protect and improve their communities.
What do MRC Volunteers do?
The responsibilities of MRC volunteers vary, depending on the nature of the needs in the community. MRC volunteers can assist during emergencies and assist with public initiatives and ongoing community health outreach and education efforts.
Major emergencies can overwhelm the capabilities of first responders, particularly during the first 12 to 72 hours. Medical and other health volunteers can provide an important "surge" capacity during this critical period. They also can augment medical staff shortages at local medical and emergency facilities. In short, communities often need medically trained individuals and other to fill in the gaps in their emergency response plans. Overall, this will help to improve their response capabilities.
MRC volunteers also strengthen the overall health of Americans by participating in general public health initiatives, such as flu vaccination clinics and diabetes detection programs. With an overarching goal to improve health literacy, the U.S. Surgeon General encourages MRC volunteers to work toward increasing disease and injury prevention, eliminating health disparities, and improving public health preparedness.
What Training will I Need?
Emergency preparedness and response is a highly coordinated effort that allows communities to maximize their capabilities during times of extraordinary disorganization and stress.
You may already know how to perform some of the medical and health functions we so desperately need. In most cases, your training as an MRC volunteer will focus primarily on learning local emergency and health procedures, trauma response techniques, use of specialized equipment, and other methods to enhance your effectiveness as a volunteer.
Perhaps the most important part of your training will be learning to work as part of a team. An organized, well-trained MRC unit will be familiar with its community's response plan, will know what materials are available for use, will know its response partners, and will know where its skills can be put to best use in a coordinated manner.
How do I Register to Become an MRC Volunteer?
Please contact the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for information on becoming an MRC volunteer at 772-794-7479.
Additional information about becoming an MRC volunteer can be found by visiting the Department of Health and Human Services Medical Reserve Corps webpage.
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