Medical Reserve Corps seeks volunteers

Staff report

SIDNEY — The Sidney-Shelby County Health Department seeks practicing and retired health professionals and others interested in volunteering service for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of West Central Ohio.

On March 15, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department will be host an open house at the Health Department, 202 W. Poplar St., to help the community learn about the MRC.

An MRC unit is a community-based, organized group of volunteers who can serve during a local public health emergency. Tornados, floods, natural disasters and bioterrorism incidents all need volunteer help. Volunteers, willing to serve the community will have the opportunity to attend educational programs and specialized training in disaster-response free of charge.

After the events of Sept. 11, it became clear to all Americans that many unforeseen emergencies could occur which might overwhelm existing local response efforts. Any disaster response, large or small, begins locally. So, by design, all medical reserve corps units are based locally. The program’s foundation is built on the concept that communities can help themselves by organizing volunteer response efforts from within and doing so before incidents occur.

Being prepared to handle an emergency is a challenge for any community. But, when a community is truly prepared, residents will be able to move quickly to minimize disability, death and emotional trauma resulting from an incident. Health commissioners from all participating health departments in West Central Ohio want to educate and train a group of volunteers so that when an emergency occurs, they will be able to move quickly to address the needs of their communities.

Participating counties in the Medical Reserve Corps of West Central Ohio include Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers may include, but are not limited to, practicing, retired or otherwise employed health professionals, including doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, physicians’ and nurses’ assistants, public health officials and others who are willing to provide support services.

Volunteers are needed for both emergency and nonemergency roles. During a disaster, volunteers might be asked to help staff an emergency vaccination clinic or drug distribution site. During times of nonemergency, volunteers will receive — at no charge — emergency preparedness education and training and have the chance to serve as local public health ambassadors. Some activities might include assisting with flu clinics, providing education sessions on special topics and promoting immunization campaigns.

Residents can volunteer or learn more about the MRC by attending the open house. To register for the open house, email [email protected] or call 498-7249. Additional information about the MRC and emergency preparedness is at

Staff report