Unit volunteers will provide surge capacity in local disasters, including but not limited to:
- Assisting with medical and non-medical functions at mass prophylaxis/vaccination clinics
- Exercise/drill participation
- Manning phone banks
- Making post-event follow-up calls after an incident
- Supporting continuity of operations for hospitals and clinics during a pandemic
- Helping to man alternative care centers
- Assisting community long-term recovery efforts through outreach and application assistance for benefits
- Data collection and entry
- General and post crisis education
- Foreign language education (Hmong, Spanish, Amish)
- Information technology support
- Local resource dissemination
- Other logistical support needed by community partners.
Benefits to The CommunityMajor local emergencies can overwhelm the capability of first responders, especially during the first 12-72 hours. Having citizens who are prepared to take care of themselves, their families and others during times of crisis will allow first-responders to focus their efforts on the most critical, life threatening situations.
An organized, well trained Medical Reserve Corps unit means that:
- Volunteers can effectively respond to an emergency
- Are familiar with their community's response plan
- Know what materials are available for their use
- Know who their partners in the response are and
- Know where their skills can be utilized to their best advantage and in a coordinated manner.
An Organized Team Approach
During emergencies, Eau Claire County, the City of Eau Claire, (and other jurisdictions) the Health Department and Community Partners will activate their Emergency Management Plans (EMP). This plan defines how emergency personnel (fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and others) will respond to and manage the emergency. Spontaneous volunteers may hinder rescue efforts because they may not be familiar with local plans or procedures.
By creating a Medical Reserve Corps unit that is linked to the Eau Claire City-County Health Department's Public Health Emergency Plan, the members of the Medical Reserve Corps can truly benefit the community by knowing what their role is during an emergency, how they fit into the emergency plan, and how best to respond so that they are a positive support structure for the first responders. Learn more about the History of the MRC.
The MRC program was created after President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address, in which he asked all Americans to volunteer in support of their country. The MRC is comprised of organized medical, non-medical, and public health professionals who serve as volunteers to respond to natural disasters and emergencies. These volunteers assist communities nationwide during emergencies and for ongoing efforts in public health.
The need for trained supplemental medical, non-medical, and public health personnel to assist with emergency operations was highlighted after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many medical and public health professionals sought to support emergency relief efforts, but there was no organized approach to channel their efforts. The MRC program provides the structure necessary to deploy medical, non-medical and public health personnel in response to an emergency, as it identifies specific, trained, credentialed personnel available and ready to respond to emergencies.
In March 2009, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department invited community partners and members of the Eau Claire City-County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Committee to an information gathering session and discussion about forming a Medical Reserve unit to serve Eau Claire County. Further discussion and review of after action reports from tabletop and functional exercises and hazard vulnerability analyses in Public Health Emergency Preparedness Committee meetings validated the need for a unit.
A lot of groundwork has been done. The Eau Claire County MRC is federally approved and supported and listed on the national website (www.medicalreservecorps.com). The Eau Claire City- County Health Department sponsors the Medical Reserve Corps, is supported by the City-County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Committee, MRC Unit Advisory Committee, and County Emergency Management.