Medical Reserve Corps Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I become an MRC volunteer?
Volunteers are the very heart of the MRC. Communities benefit exponentially from MRC volunteers who are ready to respond for many reasons, but some volunteer for the MRC because:
- By being an MRC volunteer, you become recognized as a credentialed volunteer.
- Volunteers also help the public throughout the year by augmenting existing public health efforts or providing emergency backup that would not otherwise be available.
- It is personally fulfilling and satisfying to belong to a group of persons who have a strong sense of mission and purpose.
Do I have to live in Sedgwick County to be a volunteer?
No, you do not have to reside in Sedgwick County.
Are there any fees or costs to volunteer?
No. There are no fees, dues or other mandated costs to be a MRC volunteer. The program provides uniform shirts and hat among miscellaneous other supplies.
The MRC program seeks volunteers with various training and skill sets to assist with emergency preparedness and response efforts. Volunteers in the MRC program include:
- Practicing, retired or otherwise employed medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, behavioral health, nursing assistants, phlebotomists, medication aids, and others
- Practicing, retired or otherwise employed public health professionals such as nurses, physicians, educators, epidemiologists, investigators, and others.
- Community members such as retirees, parents, translators, educators, clergy, college students, managers, clerks, general laborers, military personnel and others.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to volunteer?
No. United States citizenship is not required to be part of the MRC. Both citizens and non-citizens, legal U.S. residents who are over the age of 18, who do not hold specific felony convictions are welcome to volunteer.
Licensure verifications and criminal background checks will be completed on applicants.
Do I need medical skills to volunteer for the MRC?
No. The MRC program seeks non-medical volunteers to fulfill other important needs such as translation, computer assistance, clerical support, health education, stocking supplies, managing clinic flow, etc.
Will being an MRC volunteer interfere with my regular job and/or can I be a volunteer for more than one organization?
Volunteering for non-emergency activities should not conflict with your regular employment or other mandatory obligations to another volunteer organization.
During a public health emergency, you may be needed during times that you would normally be at work; or, if you are a member of another volunteer organization, they also may request your response. You should discuss this possibility with your employer/organization and understand their policy and procedure regarding volunteering.
As a MRC volunteer, what happens if I am not available when called upon?
MRC volunteers do not have to be available at all times. Volunteers may make a minimal commitment during times of crisis or for other specific community needs or events.
What kind of training will volunteers receive?
In most cases, training as an MRC volunteer focuses primarily on learning local emergency and health procedures, use of specialized equipment, incident command system, bloodborne pathogen, CPR, and other training to enhance volunteer effectiveness and self-preparedness.
All volunteers without a current license to practice in the healing arts will need to obtain training and certification in first aid from a nationally recognized provider (such as the Red Cross, the American Heart Association, etc.) This training/certification is for liability purposes.
Does MRC participate in events or activities where there isn't an emergency?
Yes. MRC volunteers strengthen the overall health of their community by participating in general public health initiatives such as flu vaccination clinics, fostering disaster preparedness, and providing various health education and free Blood Pressure checks at health fairs. Volunteers also participate in exercises, training and active recruitment.
What will I be doing during a public health emergency?
During a public health emergency, MRC volunteers will help staff an emergency vaccination or pharmaceutical distribution clinic. Some functions will include mass vaccination or distribution of pharmaceuticals to the public, medical screening, patient education sessions, directing client flow, registering clients, data entry, stocking supplies, running supplies, management of traffic flow, respite area, etc.
How many hours will I be volunteering?
During a public health emergency, hours will depend on the magnitude of the situation and the need. This will also depend on how many hours the clinic may operate in a 24-hour period. Shifts will be scheduled for all clinic workers and volunteers.
MRC members are asked to volunteer in at least one non-emergency activity each year.
Will I be paid for my services?
MRC volunteers are not paid. Volunteers willingly give their time for the benefit of others. In the event of a public health emergency, activated MRC volunteers and their immediate family members will receive emergency prophylaxis.
Are tax credits possible for volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps?
Yes. Volunteers in the United States may receive tax deductions from the federal government on many costs associated with volunteering, such as mileage, parking fees, and other expenses. Uniforms and various other items are tax deductible if the volunteer purchases his/her own. These deductions apply only if you are not receiving reimbursement for expenses and are filing an itemized tax form (not the 1040EZ). When volunteers drive their personal vehicles to carry out volunteer duties, including to and from trips to their volunteer service, the IRS permits a deduction of 14 cents per mile (IR-2006-168). MRC volunteers who want a tax deduction should keep a detailed written record of mileage for the performance their volunteer duties.
What about liability for MRC volunteers?
Sedgwick County is a governmental entity under which the Kansas Tort Claims Act may afford MRC volunteers liability coverage for tort claims resulting from the scope of their work as MRC volunteers. There are other provisions under state and federal law, including the Kansas Emergency Preparedness for Disasters Act (K.S.A. 48-904 et seq.) and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which may apply in very specific instances to provide MRC volunteers with immunity.
I am interested in becoming a MRC volunteer. What do I do first?
The first step in becoming an MRC volunteer is to complete the MRC volunteer application. The application can be submitted online by clicking on VOLUNTEER APPLICATION. Alternatively, you also may print, complete and your application.
Once the application is received, a short interview will be conducted and specifics will be verified.
Once approved, you will be notified and asked to make an appointment for orientation and completion of your file. After orientation, you will receive your uniform shirts, hat, and miscellaneous items.
Sedgwick County Medical Reserve Corps
1900 E. 9th St.
Wichita, KS 67214