LINCOLN COUNTY — While many organizations have a lack of volunteers, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Emergency Manager Jenny Demaris said the sheriff’s office already has a large number of credentialed volunteers.
Reaching out further to especially those with experience in the medical field, emergency management is actively recruiting clinical and support staff for the new Lincoln County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
According to the sheriff’s office, MRC volunteers improve the health and safety of their community by supporting public health initiatives, as well as assisting public safety with emergency response events.
“This new volunteer group compliments the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT), search and rescue and other community volunteer groups by providing a pathway specifically for medical professionals and retirees to be directly involved in our whole community preparedness and response,” said Demaris.
Fourteen community members were in attendance at a presentation by AmeriCorps VISTA MRC Implementation Coordinator Rose DeRoo in Newport on Wednesday evening, March 11. Eight attended in Waldport on March 10. Another presentation was held Thursday evening at the St. Clair Fire Station in Lincoln City.
“We’re hoping to recruit registered nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists and ultimately support staff. Medical reserve corps units don’t function without support staff and people who are able to do organization, logistics and planning,” DeRoo told prospective volunteers.
Presenting the history of the MRC, DeRoo explained, “9/11 was the catalyst for creating the Medical Reserve Corps, and it really highlighted a national need for a way to organize health care volunteers.” She said many medical professionals wanted to help, but there was no method in place to organize and credential them.
In 2002, DeRoo said, at the State of the Union Address, George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps, which houses AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, and the CitizenCorps, which houses the MRC.
Demaris pointed out that the MRC will help volunteers with training and emergency response credentialing.
“There are lots of things to be able to expand your understanding and your interest,” she said.
MRC members will need to complete incident command system courses, as well as CPR/AED, first aid and HIPPA training.
People would have the opportunity to serve locally, at the state level and nationally, DeRoo told the audience. However, there is no requirement to respond.
DeRoo said volunteers in this area might respond to disasters, both natural and human-caused, such as flooding, an earthquake or severe weather conditions.
“MRC units also respond to public health emergencies similar to what we’re going through with the COVID-19. We just got word there are quite a few MRCs activating throughout the state to help respond and help mitigate some of human services response.
“MRCs also plan and help support flu clinics and other immunization clinics within their community,” added DeRoo.
“I’m a retired doctor, and I’ve always helped people as much as I could,” said Dr. Helen le Vann, a retired physician who practiced both internal and emergency medicine, as well as four years in public health. “I recognize that the world is in a much more precarious place than it has been. And if I can do anything to help, I’d be glad to,” she said after the Wednesday evening presentation.
“I’m already a member of CERT, and I wanted to know what this is all about,” said Amanda Le Pine, who was also in attendance on March 11. “It’s very important. We just don’t have that many professional EMTs in case of an emergency. We, the citizens, have to be ready to step up.”
Lincoln County will make the 15th MRC in Oregon. Interested volunteers should contact [email protected], or search: Lincoln County, Oregon, Medical Reserve Corps where there is information and an application.