Health District

Medical Reserve Corps FAQs

  • Will I have the opportunity to volunteer for Medical Reserve Corps response efforts outside of the local area?

    The primary responsibility of the Washoe County MRC is to respond to local incidents. In the event of a regional or national incident, if a request is made for assistance from our units, members may be deployed elsewhere only when they are not needed locally.

  • How do I prepare my family for my possible Medical Reserve Corps deployment to assist in response efforts?

    As part of the new member orientation, you will learn how to develop a disaster plan for your family. Family members should be included in planning and decision-making, preparing an emergency kit, and gathering appropriate resources to activate the plan in the event of an emergency.

  • How will I be contacted in the event of an incident?

    When an incident occurs for which the MRC will be deployed, appropriate members will be contacted via e-mail and telephone. Notices will also be posted on this website.

  • How many people are expected to join the Washoe County Medical Reserve Corps? Must I be a healthcare professional to be a member of the Medical Reserve Corps?

    Our goal is to build our volunteer membership to over 150; we are always looking to expand our membership.

    The MRC welcomes individuals from medical and non-medical professions. Medical practitioners include physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health professionals, respiratory therapists, and veterinarians are needed to provide emergency services during disasters.

    Public Health professionals, including administrators, epidemiologists, health educators, and communicable disease and environmental health specialists are needed to help promote community health during non-emergency situations, as well as during disasters.

    Non-medical volunteers are needed to fill many key support roles, including managers, clerical personnel, interpreters, drivers, food service workers, messengers, security staff, and laborers.

    Retirees from medical and non-medical careers fill both clinical and support roles in the MRC, as do medical and health professions students.

  • As a member of the Medical Reserve Corps, am I required to volunteer during an incident?

    Membership is voluntary, and you are not required to assist in any particular response effort. Within a short period after an incident occurs, you may be contacted by MRC staff and asked to assist. Your ability to respond to a request will not affect your continued membership in the MRC.

  • What are the potential risks of working in Medical Reserve Corps incident response efforts?

    Potential risks depend upon the type, magnitude and duration of the incident. The orientation session, trainings, and exercises prepare MRC members to protect themselves while working in the response efforts. A member always has the opportunity to decline deployment if he or she is uncomfortable with the assignment, without affecting continued membership in the MRC.

  • How do I protect myself from losing my job if I am deployed?

    Each member is encouraged to have a signed memorandum of understanding with his or her employer to acknowledge that the employee has committed time to the MRC and the employer understands the employee may be unable to fulfill job responsibilities if deployed in response to an incident.

  • If I am deployed in response to an incident, what amount of time can I expect to commit as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps?

    Depending upon the scope of the incident, you should expect to work one 8 hour shift per each 24 hour period, for three to five days.

  • Exclusive of my deployment in response to an incident, what amount of time can I expect to commit as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps?

    Members who will fill supervisory roles can expect to spend approximately 28 hours in training the first year. Members who will fill non-supervisory roles can expect to spend approximately 20 hours in training the first year (23 if they need CPR/First Aid training.) Training time in subsequent years will vary, depending upon the member`s role. Additionally, all members will be expected to participate in an eight-hour exercise each year.

    Much of the training is in the form of online courses which can be completed on your home computer, at your own pace, at whatever time is convenient for you. All training is provided at no cost to the volunteer.

  • What are the vaccination requirements for Washoe County MRC members?

    The Washoe County MRC requires members to have current vaccinations for, or immunity to:

    • Influenza (seasonal, Oct. - March)
    • Hepatitis B

    Required vaccinations are provided at no cost to volunteers.

    Measles, Mumps and Rubella; Varicella (chickenpox); Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccinations and TB Screening are recommended but not required for membership.

  • What does the term "just-in-time" training mean?

    The concept of just-in-time training is to provide training at the time it is most needed. In emergency management, just-in-time training incorporates information specific to the type and magnitude of the incident. The MRC uses just-in-time training for its members immediately after deployment to issue assignments and equipment necessary for their role in the incident.

  • What role can I expect to hold during a Medical Reserve Corps response effort?

    A member’s role will depend upon the following factors:

    • Type, magnitude, duration, and severity of the incident
    • Roles identified by incident command staff as necessary for the response effort
    • Member’s skills, interests, and licensure

    MRC staff will make role assignments based on resource needs and availability. You can be assured that you will not be asked to perform a role that you are not prepared for.

  • Why must I submit to a background check?

    Background checks for all members, and licensure verification for healthcare practitioners are completed to protect both MRC members and the public they will be serving.

  • Why should I become a member of the Medical Reserve Corps?

    In the event of an incident, time and resources are simply not available to process, train and manage spontaneous volunteers. The MRC registers and screens members, verifying medical licenses in advance to ensure a rapid, coordinated response. Spontaneous volunteers often present a hindrance to incident management and may be turned away. If you want to be part of disaster response effort, become a member of the MRC now so you can be deployed quickly when an emergency occurs.

Last modified on 09/12/2022

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »