As part of Camden County’s Public Health Emergency Planning efforts, we are joining the State of New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services in establishing a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
Just what is that? The MRC will be comprised of a group of volunteers from all professions and walks of life from our general population. We are looking for community residents, medical professionals and retired folks to become part of this Corps.
And what will you be doing? In the event of a catastrophic emergency, such as a contagious disease outbreak (for example Asian Bird Flu, Smallpox, SARS), the Health Department will be setting up Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout the county so that we can quickly and efficiently dispense medication to the general population.
In our practice runs where we have set up actual PODs, we have been able to determine the kinds of help we will need from the general public. In addition to staffing a distribution center with medical personnel, we have a need for:
- Hospitality workers – to give out coffee and donuts for instance
- Greeters – to present a friendly face and direct residents to the proper lines
- Housekeeping folks – to help us keep the areas picked up and organized
- Childcare Workers – to help monitor and comfort children while their parents are being inoculated or counseled
- Clergy – to offer support and comfort to residents who may be anxious
- Translators – to help ease the fears of residents who are not fluent in English
- Traffic controllers – to direct vehicles in and out of the POD area
- Security – to help us maintain a smooth operation
- Clerical Support – to help us facilitate the necessary paperwork distribution, collection and sorting
From the medical professions, we are seeking volunteers who are:
- Physicians’ assistants
- Social workers
- Mental health professionals
- Emergency medical technicians
- Medical assistants and others
After September 11, 2001, it became apparent throughout our communities that we need to make a concerted effort to identify and assign people to help with the many tasks required during a public emergency. It isn’t unusual for people to panic during a catastrophic event, and we want to be able to assure residents in Camden County that we have a plan in place to prevent that from happening. Government, Law Enforcement and Emergency Management personnel cannot do the job alone. We need your help. We will offer training and information to all who get involved. The work isn’t hard and it is very personally rewarding.
In order to volunteer, you should be able to provide your own transportation to/from a POD site. You should be in good health to the extent that you will have the physical and mental stamina to respond in an emergency.
The application is on the New Jersey Learning Management Network (NJLMN) website. First you make an account for NJLMN and then in the “My Profile” section you can indicate that you would like to be a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer and fill out the appropriate application. https://njlmn.njlincs.net/