Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the NENC MRC Coordinator.

What is the Medical Reserve Corps ?

The national MRC organization is a group of volunteers who want to help their community in case of a disaster, especially by applying their medical skills. See the National MRC website for details.

What is the mission of the Northeast North Carolina MRC (NENC MRC)?

The mission of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is to improve the health and safety of communities across the country by organizing and utilizing public health, medical, and other volunteers.

How are MRCs across the U.S. similar, and how are they different?

The units are similar in that they hold to the basic principals of the national organization goal of assistance in the response to disasters in their community, through medical volunteers who have been pulled together and trained in advance.

They are different because each unit is entitled to cater their program to operate in the best way for their area. The climate, geography, number and composition of volunteers, sources of hazards, and many other aspects can vary wildly from one region to another. Therefore, it is vital for participants to structure and train their units according to local needs.

Because there can be such a difference between individual units, the answers to the remaining questions pertain specifically to the NENC MRC.

How do I become a member of the NENC MRC?

In order to become a member of the NENC MRC, the volunteer responder will need to fill out an interest form.

Once that is complete and has been submitted, the MRC Coordinator will follow up with you for a brief telephone interview. At that time, policies and procedures will be shared, and you will be asked to complete ServNC application, which is required for all MRC units in the U.S. Various trainings are needed and the Coordinator will work with you to get those completed.

Members can devote as little or as much time as they wish. Although a wide range of training is available and encouraged, the primary request for all members is to complete the necessary forms and basic training, and then keep their skills sharp and be ready for emergencies. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date, too!

Because members have busy lives, the MRC prefers to limit the demands on its members. If we have a call-out, members always have the right to say no. However, there is always work to be done and ways in which to serve. Even if all you can do is serve one day at an annual flu clinic or a health fair, that involvement alone is helpful!

What kinds of activities is the NENC MRC involved in?

Our most vital activity is to serve in deployments. We may be called on to help with a regional flooding disaster or to assist flu clinics. While our focus is local, members may have opportunities to serve broader needs across our country.

We also offer training and community service activities, and are always looking to develop programs that are specific to the MRC and the various categories of expertise (physicians, nurse practitioners, EMTs, others). After all, there is a wide range of functions to be performed by members, as they prepare for different levels of response.

What kinds of members are invited to join?

Anyone who wants to help can be useful to the NENC MRC. In the same way that a hospital needs more than doctors and nurses in order to function, an MRC benefits from the contributions of each member, regardless of their background and expertise.

For general deployment purposes, we have identified three basic categories of service through our unit:
  1. Advanced-level care providers have the most extensive certifications - this includes physicians, nurses, and paramedics.

  2. First-responder care providers include basic-level EMTs and LPNs.

  3. Non-medical care providers are those who offer crucial support functions, such as database administrators, drivers, and "greeters" at clinics.

Each member can offer valuable service, regardless of their level of medical training, and may become indispensable in a given emergency.

What will I be doing as a member?

As a NENC MRC member you will the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities, including community outreach events and disaster deployments. These could include health fairs, community walks/runs, flu clinics, hurricane or weather related disaster response, and public health emergencies. In this role, you will offer support during events and responses.

How much training do I need?

We do ask that volunteers complete basic training requirements, including First Aid/ CPR and Incident Command Courses. Even those we do require this training, it can be spread out over several months and does not have to be completed immediately.

What does "all-hazards response" mean?

This term describes a complete range of disasters, for which trained responders could be essential. The NENC MRC might be called on to provide care to those who are impacted by anything from natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, fires), to a chemical spill on a highway, or to a terrorist attack.

No one can predict when a disaster will strike, nor the kind of skills that would be required to handle every situation. The more we learn and prepare, the more effective our response will be, and the more lives we can save.

What is "Just In Time" training?

Just-In-Time Training is a training scheme in which the required knowledge and skills are imparted for immediate application, to avoid loss of retention due a time gap. For example, physicians and other medical practitioners cannot have instant recall of details of every disease and combination of medical symptoms and treatments. JITT refers to a process in which the person receives training "just-in-time" when it is needed for a particular purpose.

Some MRCs have developed subsets of JIT training for various common tasks. There is usually some form of 'job action sheet' or assigned skills available, to provide some brief training at the site of a deployment. However, our focus is to arrive with members who have already been pre-credentialed and pre-trained in basic disaster response skills, so they can be as prepared as possible to respond when an event occurs.

What is the relationship between the MRC and the American Red Cross (ARC)?

At a national level, the two organizations are separate yet cooperative. There is some overlap in the ways in which the MRC and ARC can respond to various disasters, but these two entities have different missions.

At the local level, the NENCMRC and the local American Red Cross enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. The ARC provides several classes to the MRC members free of charge. If the ARC needs extra volunteers in setting up and running an emergency shelter, they are invited to call the MRC staff for additional support.

What is an MOU?

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between partners. It expresses a convergence of will between the partners, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement.

The MRC is developing MOU documents with a number of municipal and other organizations, as part of community response plans. An MOU could specify whether a school could serve as an emergency shelter, which resources would provide food and water, and whether various civic groups would be contacted for donations.