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1/28/2011 - A Call For Volunteers

A Call For Volunteers

Why does Cumberland County need volunteers?

The citizens of Cumberland County need your help. The Cumberland County Health Department recognizes that, in the event of a public health emergency, volunteers are our most valuable resource. We need to identify a dedicated group of individuals that can be relied upon in the event of a bioterrorist or natural disaster to help put our plans into action.

What is the Medical Reserve Corps?

In order to accomplish our goal, New Jersey has created the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps (NJMRC) under the auspices of the New Jersey Citizen Corps. This program is designed to help identify and register individuals who are willing to serve within their local area. Volunteers will be utilized through county and local health agencies as part of the emergency management system in that jurisdiction. The State is also interested in identifying individuals with special expertise who are available for consultation and/or response throughout the state. These special response teams would be a valuable state asset.

Who can join the Medical Reserve Corps?

The MRCs invite both health care professional and community health volunteers. Any licensed or certified health care professional, practicing or retired, living or working in the State of New Jersey can apply to be a member of the Medical Reserve Corps. Residents of New Jersey that have an interest in health care issues and are willing to serve their fellow citizens in the event of a public health emergency are also encouraged to apply to the NJMRC program.

What are my responsibilities as a member?

During a public health emergency, volunteers will be called upon to perform a variety of functions needed to protect the health of the citizens of New Jersey. Such duties might include direct patient care, administrative, secretarial, translation or reception duties. Volunteers need to be aware that they will need to participate in training and education in order to be adequately prepared should an event occur. Volunteers should be asked to perform duties in accord with their interests, training and experience. Guidelines for this recommended training will be outlined by the State Department of Health and Senior Services.

Do I have liability protection?

New Jersey law provides that volunteers acting in good faith carrying out, complying with or attempting to comply with, any order, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to a declared emergency, or performing any authorized service in connection therewith, shall not be liable for any injury or death to persons or damage to property as a result of any such activity.

How do I join?

New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps (Emergency Health Care Provider Registry, pursuant to P.L. 2005, c. 222) has been created as a tool to support the registration process. To begin the application process, click on "ONLINE APPLICATION". Complete the Medical Reserve Corp Unit Community Health Volunteer Application. Once submitted, your information will be reviewed and you will be contacted by a representative from your county or local unit. When you are accepted, you will be notified with further information.

What is ESAR-VHP and how will it work in New Jersey?

The Emergency System of Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) is a national network of State-based programs for managing health professional volunteers. Each state has been mandated by the federal government to create an ESAR-VHP Program for their state. These efforts will increase surge capacity efforts during a large scale public health emergency.

NJDHSS has developed a unified and systematic approach by integrating the ESAR-VHP Program with the existing New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps (NJMRC) Program. The Health Care Professional component of the NJMRC Program will serve as the tool and mechanism for developing this federally mandated program.The ESAR-VHP program has been developed according to the federal ESAR-VHP Technical Standards and Guidelines, so that credential and licensure information can be verified at the highest level and volunteers that are willing to be activated in a federal emergency can be identified and mobilized to effectively respond across state lines. Key essential professionals are needed for this program such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, clinical social workers, respiratory therapists, cardiovascular technologists, EMTs and Paramedics, and Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists.

This program will enhance and improve the health, safety and resiliency of local communities, States, and the Nation during public health and medical emergency responses.

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