This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Across the nation, more than 1,000 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units exist as a national network of volunteers dedicated to serving in a wide variety of events. MRC units are community based and function as a way to locally use volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to promote healthy living throughout the year and to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
The Western Nevada Medical Reserve Corps unit is operated through Carson City Health and Human Services, but serves all of western Nevada. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologist. Community members without healthcare backgrounds such as interpreters, chaplains, office workers, and legal advisors are also a vital part of the MRC and fill important support positions. MRC members may be students in training, those in active clinical practice, or those who are retired.
Western Nevada MRC volunteers assist with numerous community events throughout the year including staffing first aid booths for large events such as Epic Rides and assisting with large-scale community- and school-based flu clinics. During a disaster, depending on a volunteer’s skill set, they may help in emergency call centers, outbreak investigations, performing medical screenings, behavioral health support, and assisting with evacuation shelter operations. Volunteers are sometimes asked to act as “victims” during emergency drills. These drills are held regularly and done in partnership with other agencies such as the American Red Cross, MRCs from neighboring areas, law enforcement, fire/EMS, healthcare, as well as many others.
To join the Western Nevada Medical Reserve Corps, visit www.servnv.org or call the program coordinator at 775-887-2190. If you are at least 16 years of age, willing to complete a couple of brief online trainings about emergency preparedness, and pass a background check, you are a candidate to become a MRC volunteer. Any registered volunteer can be as involved in the program as they wish and no volunteer is obligated to deploy to an emergency. It is for this reason that we strive to have a large MRC unit as many volunteers may have work and family responsibilities that make them unable to assist during a particular emergency.
Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) wants you to be prepared for any type of disaster and to assist our community with being ready for an emergency. For more preparedness tips and information, please visit our website at http://gethealthycarsoncity.org/preparedness or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.
This article is part of a four-part series developed for National Preparedness Month. The Public Health Preparedness (PHP) Division at CCHHS is funded entirely by federal grants from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), awarded each year through the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. CCHHS works closely with partner agencies such as fire, healthcare, social services, and non-profit community organizations to accomplish preparedness activities across Western Nevada.