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Department of Health Services

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

Who can Volunteer?


The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has nearly 450 licensed health care professionals who desire to serve as health-related volunteers in our community during times of emergency. Volunteers include nurses, physicians and pharmacists, as well as licensed mental health professionals (LCSW, MFT, psychologists and psych technicians); and many non-medical community members who are needed to be prepared to support emergency response efforts.

Volunteers include licensed or certified health professionals, licensed or certified mental health professionals and non-medical community members.

Become a Volunteer

First, prospective volunteers register on California's Disaster Healthcare Volunteers (DHV) website. Then, after making an appointment and completing a County volunteer application including disaster service worker Oath, they will become an official Sonoma County MRC volunteer. After that, volunteers can be protected by workers' compensation and liability coverage if deployed to disaster incidents or sponsored trainings and events.

Volunteers also receive a photo ID badge, MRC pen and small; emergency go-kit. (Application/oath and badging appointments can be made with Public Health Preparedness.)

All MRC volunteers are required to attend an MRC Orientation training, offered throughout the year. They may be held in person, but are also available in webinar format on this website below under Training. Here they learn how the MRC functions, what County emergency plans are currently in place, MRC roles and responsibilities in a disaster, the Incident Command System (ICS), and related biological, medical and/or mental health preparedness responses. They may also meet other MRC members. Again, for the required self-Orientation and required post-test, see this web page under Orientation.

MRC Volunteers are encouraged to attend trainings, drills and exercises held in person or online, and to look for announcements from Public Health via email or on this website. Trainings may include pandemic influenza preparedness, using safety needles, psychological first aid, shelter operations, personal preparedness, and a variety of other public health topics. Volunteers can participate in drills and exercises such as the setup of public health Point of Dispensing sites (PODs), annual Statewide exercises, and hospital emergency preparedness drills.

Public Health may also invite MRC Volunteers to participate in certain community events such as helping train in hands-only CPR or respiratory/hand hygiene for school children, and other health activities. Finally, MRC volunteers prepare themselves to serve on short notice by creating a personal go-kit, and prepare their families by creating and maintaining a family emergency plan and supply kit.

  • Review the MRC Job Description
  • Attend the Orientation and Training Assembly
  • Show your medical license and/or certifications
  • Complete the Volunteer Application
  • Complete swearing-in and badging
  • Register on the DHV (Disaster Healthcare Volunteers) website
  • Prepare yourself and your family for emergencies
  • Liability and worker’s comp are provided when you are deployed
  • Official MRC polo shirt, cap and pin may be available
  • Participate in ongoing training, drills and exercises offered by Public Health and in community events. Get to know other MRC volunteers.

What are volunteers asked to do and where?

MRC volunteers are trained to serve in a variety of emergency response settings. These emergency field assignments may be located at evacuation shelters, Public Health Point of Dispensing sites (PODs), hospitals, special emergency health facilities, alternate care sites, or other locations. Just in Time training and orientations will be given. MRC volunteers are not required to deploy; and they take care of themselves, their families and their jobs first.

How does the MRC program communicate with its volunteers?

Volunteers receive email messages through the State's DHV system or directly from Public Health Preparedness. These may include small drills, invitations for trainings, conferences, events and exercises.  For emergency notification and deployment, volunteers may receive an email or an automated telephone notification call via the DHV system or email from Public Health Preparedness