The Cape May County Medical Reserve Corps’ (MRC) mission is to establish a network of local volunteer medical and non-medical residents who can contribute their skills and expertise throughout the County to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies as well as assist with other Health Department initiatives to improve the health of the community.
The Cape May County MRC enhances the County’s emergency preparedness efforts by ensuring that a trained group of healthcare professionals and community volunteers are ready to assist the County in response to a public health emergency.
In the event of a major disease outbreak, bio-terrorism incident, or natural disaster, the Cape May County Health Department, in conjunction with community partners, is preparing to open multiple Point of Dispensing (POD) sites throughout the County. These POD sites will serve to distribute medications or vaccinations to large segments of the County’s population.
MRC members, both clinical and non-clinical, will be key in staffing the POD sites. Non-clinical volunteers will perform administrative support roles such as registration, data entry, language translation, crowd control, and assisting with special needs residents. Clinical (medical) volunteers would be integrated with Health Department staff to conduct medically-appropriate tasks.
Major events within the U.S., such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and the H1N1 Pandemic of 2009 have highlighted the need for medical, public health, and non-medical volunteers to aid their communities in preparing for and responding to emergencies. The Cape May County MRC provides an organized opportunity for community members to become trained to volunteer their services during all times of need.
The first response to any disaster is a local response. Being prepared to handle a large-scale emergency is a challenge for any community. A Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) assists its community to be exceptionally prepared by enlisting its residents to mobilize quickly to minimize disability, death and emotional trauma resulting from an emergency. A major emergency has the potential to quickly overwhelm existing public health, emergency, medical, and behavioral health resources. Trained Cape May County MRC volunteers can enhance the efforts of the full-time emergency response personnel, providing much needed supplemental aid during an emergency.
In addition, non-emergent, but important initiatives arise within the community in which additional support, skill, and manpower are needed to help keep a community healthy and safe.
All Cape May County residents 18 years or older with a valid e-mail address can volunteer with the Cape May County MRC. Any member with current licensures or certifications will need to provide a copy for our records. Members should anticipate being contacted to volunteer during an emergency or non-emergent public health event.
Make a difference. Being part of an organized volunteer group means you have the greatest potential to make an impact ensuring a quick return to stability within your community after a public health emergency.
Use your skills in a helpful way. All types of skills are needed. The Cape May County MRC will help you apply your skills where they are needed most. Because of the training that you will receive through the MRC, you will be better prepared to help yourself and others during an emergency.
Stay connected. As a Cape May County MRC volunteer, you will be among the first who are notified when an emergency happens. You will receive periodic newsletters on topics related to public health preparedness, terrorism threats, emerging diseases, pandemic influenza and advanced notice of specialized trainings in your community. You will also meet others who have experience and insight in emergency preparedness.
Expectations of a Cape May County MRC volunteer
Cape May County MRC volunteers will be expected to participate in basic emergency preparedness orientation and training. These trainings (some are on-line) will help prepare you for participation in the event of an emergency and provide you with knowledge on personal preparedness. Activities in which volunteers can expect to be involved will vary depending on the volunteer’s level of commitment and the situation at hand. Members with a specific skill set may be called upon to help educate other MRC members on public health and emergency preparedness topics.
During times of non-emergency, opportunities for participation might arise. Cape May County MRC volunteers may be asked to participate in on-going public health activities such as public health outreach, health fairs, and any other health department-initiated activity.
All MRC volunteers across the United States are required to be trained in 7 core competencies. These competencies represent baseline levels of knowledge and skills that all MRC volunteers should have regardless of their roles within the MRC Unit. Most of the training courses are available for free online. In-person/classroom training courses will also be scheduled. Taking additional training apart from the core competencies is highly encouraged. Two tools have been developed to help you identify your training needs and track what you have already completed.
1. The Cape May County MRC Core Competencies Matrix provides background information on how the core competencies are structured, as well as the specific knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are needed for volunteers to perform in each area.
2. The Cape May County Medical Reserve Corps Training Log is a document for you to keep track of MRC/ emergency preparedness training courses you have taken, and to identify any training gaps. You will be asked each year to update your training profile – this log will be helpful!
Most of the online courses are posted on the New Jersey Learning Management Network (NJLMN). Click here for instructions to set up a free account on NJLMN. To access an online course on NJLMN, once you have an account, search the Online Course Catalog (not Classroom Course Catalog) by keyword. There may be several sites offering the same course. Please register for Cape May County – Online if available. Most courses will have a link to also register with the external site offering the course. You will need to register with both NJLMN AND the external site. By registering first on NJLMN, you will have access to an online transcript, containing all of your training courses. If the course provides a certificate of completion, return a copy to the Cape May County Department of Health so we can update your training record (you should also note the completion date on your training log). You can send the certificate by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to 463-6580 or by mail to: CMCDH MRC Coordinator, 6 Moore Rd, DN#601, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210.
What Are the Benefits of Volunteering?
There are a number of benefits to be gained by joining the MRC including:
Helping Cape May County to better prepare for and respond to public health emergencies
Accomplishing rewarding work
Getting to know your community better
Acquiring new skills, knowledge and training
Earning continuing education and community service credits
Cape May County Department of Health
C/o Community Health Planning Department
4 Moore Road DN601
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
FAX: (609) 465 – 6580
CALL: (609) 465 - 6689
Cape May County MRC Newsletters
The Cape May County MRC distributes quarterly newsletters to our membership. Our newsletters contain information on events, trainings, volunteer opportunities, and important news. Click on the titles to see the newsletters. (Requires Adobe reader)