This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday 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 epidemiologists. Community members without health care backgrounds such as interpreters, chaplains, office workers and legal advisers are also a vital part of the MRC and fill important support positions. MRC members might 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 might 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, health care 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 wants you to be prepared for any type of disaster and to assist our community with being ready for an emergency. For information about Carson City Health and Human Services programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, follow us on Twitter at @CCHealthEd, call us at 775-887-2190 or visit us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.