First Recruits at June 30, 2004 Kickoff

The Upper Merrimack Valley MRC is one of 38 Medical Reserve Corps units in Massachusetts – and one of 806 across America – that is actively recruiting and training volunteers in case of emergencies. There are nearly 183,000 MRC members in all 50 states — plus Washington DC, Guam, Palau, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other territories — serving in areas as diverse as Anchorage, Alaska and New York City. MRC units continue to offer a wide range of services.

The national network of MRCs brings together people who have skills related to health care, to help as needed in their own community. When units are organized and trained, they can respond to events such as public health emergencies and large-scale disasters, and provide ongoing community service.

The Upper Merrimack Valley MRC is recruiting new members who would like to make a difference in their community, both in responding to a crisis and supporting local events. Medical and non-medical volunteers are welcome.

Who we serve
The UMV MRC covers seven communities: Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, and Westford. The population for this region is well over a quarter of a million residents. The lead agency for this initiative is the Town of Westford’s Health Department.

Volunteer information

Sandy Collins (original MRC Director) and Nancy Burns (MRC Coordinator)
welcomed volunteers at our first focus group.

Each MRC unit across the nation is comprised of volunteers who can best serve the needs of their specific region. Members can be either practicing or retired, across a full range of levels in their profession.

The UMV MRC is particularly interested in recruiting physicians, nurses, Emergency Medical Technicians, dentists, and pharmacists. Medical volunteers could play a crucial role in public health emergencies, and would be pivotal in mass-casualty disasters.

Volunteers are also needed from related professions and supporting functions. These include mental health clinicians, special-needs care providers, counselors, phlebotomists, respiratory technicians, medical logistics personnel, health care educators, translators, administrators, and communications personnel.

Our Mission: Provide emergency and non-emergency services

The very nature of a disaster means that it is unexpected, involves many victims, and could arise in any number of forms. This is why units such as the UMV MRC train for “all-hazards” response, to work with existing agencies that can benefit from “surge capacity” in addressing the crisis at hand. All MRC responses are intended to supplement existing services, and would never replace current staff.

Display of UMV MRC activities to date

Public health emergencies could include a disease outbreak; such as a flu pandemic, smallpox or SARS epidemic, or the threat of exposure to Hepatitis A. In these types of situations, massive numbers of people may need to be inoculated on short notice. A well-organized MRC unit could be assembled rapidly to conduct local vaccination clinics on a large scale.

Mass-casualty incidents include any type of catastrophe resulting in a large number of injured victims, or events that put many people at risk. These events could include a building collapse; terrorist attack; natural disasters such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, or snowstorms; or fires that injure or displace many individuals. These situations may also require staffing at shelters for several days or weeks. MRC members who are trained and equipped long before a crisis occurs can provide the most effective response to these events, while ensuring the safety of themselves and those with whom they interact.

Community service projects are at the discretion of the members of the MRC. Involvement depends on the needs of the community and on the interests and abilities of the membership. Some units choose to participate in ad-hoc events, such as health fairs, festivals and road races. Others can play a key role in ongoing initiatives, such as health education programs. These non-emergency functions invite members to make their world a better place in which to live.