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SERV-OR Frequently Asked Questions

State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR)

  1. What is the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR)? SERV-OR is a database of licensed health care professionals who have registered to volunteer in response to Federal, State, and/or local emergencies. The Registry allows these licensed volunteers to join State and Local volunteer groups. These groups are as follows:
      • Volunteer Management Unit (VMU): A generic designation encompassing the State Managed Volunteer Pool (SMVP) or Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit with responsibility for managing volunteer training, communications, and activation.
      • State Managed Volunteer Pool: The group of SERV-OR volunteers managed at the state level. It accepts volunteers with active state-issued health care professional licenses. Its membership is alerted of volunteer opportunities in the event of a Federal request for disaster support and/or the Governor declares an emergency or impending public health crisis. All health care volunteers with an active state-issued health care provider license are eligible and encouraged to join this group, as well as a local MRC.
      • Medical Reserve Corps (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. MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources. MRCs are managed by a local organization that is affiliated with the national MRC office, usually, though not exclusively, a local county health department or hospital/hospital system. Their membership may be alerted about volunteer opportunities in the event of a locally declared emergency or a state or Federal requirement. Many MRCs have regular local meetings, social opportunities, as well as non-emergency volunteer opportunities.  Each unit sets its own volunteer policies.  Some units require volunteers to possess an active state-issued health care provider license, while others do not.  Some units accept volunteers from outside their host jurisdiction.  Learn about Oregon MRC units and their requirements by visiting the national Medical Reserve Corps site and choosing Oregon from the state drop-down list.  You can also view the minimum licensure and jurisdiction requirements for each MRC when you start the registration process at
  2. Which professions are you targeting with the Registry? The volunteer registry is initially targeting State of Oregon licensed and certified health care professionals, to include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), behavioral health providers, and others. Individual MRCs may make the determination to recruit non-licensed health care personnel and non-health care members.
  3. Which Volunteer Management Unit (VMU) should I register with? Health care volunteers must register in at least one organization, whether a county or regional MRC unit or the State Managed Volunteer Pool. Health care volunteers are encouraged, though not required, to volunteer for both an MRC and the State Pool.
      • View all Oregon MRC units by visiting the national Medical Reserve Corps site and choosing Oregon from the state drop-down list.
      • One MRC Rule: A volunteer may register in only one MRC unit.
      • Full Range of Opportunities: Those wishing to volunteer for the full range of potential Federal, state, and local or regional volunteer opportunities should register in both an MRC unit and the State Pool.
      • Local or Regional: Those wishing to consider only local or regional opportunities should register with the MRC in the county in which you live, if one is available. You also have the flexibility of registering with an adjacent county's or regional MRC.
      • No MRC: Those living in a county without an MRC may join an adjacent county's or regional unit and/or become a member of the State Managed Volunteer Pool.
      • State and/or Federal: Those wishing to be available only for statewide and/or Federal incidents and opportunities should register only with the State Managed Volunteer Pool, a general group of volunteers managed by Oregon State Public Health.
  4. What is the registration process? Registering on the SERV-OR site is straightforward and not likely to take more than 30 minutes to complete.  You can complete a very preliminary registration in under five minutes by providing just your contact information and basic professional information.
      • Get started using this registration guide!
      • You should gather all your personal and professional license information before you begin registration. You'll need it to complete the process.
      • You do not need to complete your registration in a single session. The registration pages will save your information to return to later.
      • You will be asked if you want to join the State Managed Volunteer Pool (SMVP) and/or a local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit.
      • You will select a username and password that you will use to maintain your volunteer profile and review confidential volunteer assignment requests.
      • The "system" will generate an e-mail notifying you that your application is under review once you have completed registration.
      • You will subsequently be notified by the volunteer unit manager(s) on the status of your application (i.e. whether accepted or if there are questions or additional steps). Some local MRC units request an interview.
  5. How often should I update my information? You are asked to update personal information (e.g. address, phone number and e-mail), as they occur. You will also be asked to review your data on a periodic basis, probably at six (6) month intervals. You will be notified by your volunteer unit manager when this policy has been determined.
  6. Are you obligated to volunteer for an emergency?
      • No, your participation in either an emergency response or a planned community service event such as a vaccination clinic is entirely voluntary.
      • You may pick and choose among the opportunities offered.
      • Your status as a volunteer is not affected if you chose to not volunteer for any event.
  7. Will I be financially compensated if I volunteer through the Registry?  No. There are no salaries, wages, or financial compensation associated with volunteering either in emergencies or non-emergency events.
  8. What is my liability and injury coverage as a Registry volunteers?
      • If you are a licensed healthcare volunteer, volunteering as part of SERV-OR and official volunteer deployment during a governor-declared emergency or state-sanctioned emergency exercise, you will be covered for liability and injury protection under the Oregon Tort Claims Act.

      • If you are a licensed medical volunteer, volunteering in the SERV-OR structure during a locally declared emergency NOT rising to the level of a governor-declared emergency, you NEED TO confirm with your local volunteer unit administrator about availability of liability and injury protection.

  9. What is the legal authority establishing SERV-OR? See the following Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) and Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) for information on SERV-OR, including liability and injury protection:
  10. Is my healthcare provider license verified? Yes. The status of professional license is verified (active, unrestricted, and in good standing) along with certain other data (e.g., Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and criminal background check). This information is kept in the SERV-OR secure database.
  11. How is my healthcare provider license verified? We verify directly with the appropriate state licensing boards. We receive the data shown when we search for your information in these official licensing board databases:


    Athletic Training


    Direct Entry Midwifery


    Denture Technology


    EMTs, Paramedics, Emergency Medical Responders

    Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists

    Massage Therapy

    Medical Board, for Medical Doctors (MD), Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Podiatric Physicians (DPM), Physician Assistants (PA), Acupuncturists (LAc).

    Medical Imaging

    Naturopathic Medicine


    Occupational Therapy



    Physical Therapy


    Respiratory Therapy

    Social Work

    Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

     Other important certifications may be checked with such organizations as:

    National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

    National Plan & Provider Enumeration System (NPPES)


    US DHHS Office of the Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals/Entities


  12. What does it mean for a license to be in good standing?  "In good standing" means that:
      • A health care provider is currently certified, registered or licensed, does not have any disciplinary restrictions placed on any certificate, registration or license, and who is not suspended or on probation with any certifying, registering or licensing agency that issued a certificate, registration or license for any reason; or
      • At the time the health care provider was last certified, registered or licensed the health care provider: (i) Did not have any disciplinary restrictions placed on a certificate, registration or license; and (ii) Was not on probation or did not have a certificate, registration or license revoked or suspended by the certifying, registering or licensing agency that issued the certificate, registration or license, for any reason.
      • An individual is not in good standing if he or she voluntarily surrendered a certificate, registration or license while under investigation by a certifying, registering, or licensing board or surrendered a certificate, registration or license in lieu of discipline.
  13. Can I register if my license or certification is expired? Yes, with some license and training requirements:
        • You must have been previously licensed or certified to provide health care services in Oregon within the last 10 years.
        • Your license or certification must have been in good standing when it was surrendered.  (See the description of “in good standing”.)
        • Undergo a criminal background check and sign any necessary authorizations and pay any necessary fees for the criminal background check.
        • Prior to being eligible for activation, and thereafter every three years, you must complete training on:
          1. First Aid that includes CPR and AED use (Find a Red Cross class.
          2. Basic Disaster Life Support (Offered to SERV-OR volunteers around Oregon occasionally during year, grant funds permitting. Course description.)
          3. Triage
          4. Psychological First Aid (Offered face-to-face and available free online.
        • Complete at least a total of six hours of continuing education credits every two years on the following subjects or substantially similar subjects:
        1. Disaster medicine
        2. Psychological first aid
        3. Disaster life support
        4. Wilderness first aid or medicine (See schedule of classes offered in Oregon by the National Outdoor Leadership School.)
  14. Who has access to my personal information? Our database is secure and only professional administrators and your volunteer unit manager have access to your information. Each volunteer unit manager agrees to an information security agreement as a condition of obtaining an account which requires adherence to state data base security requirements and the Department of Human Services Information Security Office.
  15. How am I notified of volunteer opportunities? Through e-mail, text message and/or voice phone message.
  16. What are the training requirements and opportunities?
      • Depending on the MRC unit, volunteers will be required to take certain short, online courses to prepare them for disaster response and to ensure personal and family safety during a disaster.
      • Your unit administrator will inform you of these requirements on acceptance of your application.
      • You will also receive notices of additional classes, events, and exercises. Some will be in-person and others will be online.
      • Some training will provide continuing education units, depending on the licensure.
  17. What about participation in scheduled exercises and community events?
      • Your VMU manager may notify you of opportunities to participate in local, regional, or state level exercises.
      • Consult your VMU manager to confirm availability of liability and injury protection during exercises. 
      • Your VMU manager may also notify you of opportunities to participate in non-emergency volunteer events such as blood drives, flu shot clinics, health education fairs, and school events.
      • As mentioned above, all participation is voluntary and frequency of participation will not affect your status as an emergency volunteer.
  18. How does a volunteer fit into the emergency response? When volunteering for an emergency, you become part of the overall response and are working within the Incident Command System (ICS) (i.e. you are usually assigned a specific role/task at a designated location that is being managed by existing organizational authorities). You may need to check your expectations at the door since you will usually not be assigned a leadership role as a volunteer. In summary:
        • You are volunteering as an individual with expertise in your field of practice.
        • Your VMU manager may ask that you assume a leadership or management role within the unit for routine training and administrative purposes. Do not expect this leadership role to extend to emergency responses.
        • It is highly probable that you'll be asked to volunteer as an individual provider at a hospital, alternate care site or clinic and that you will be under the supervision of that organization's leadership.
  19. Is volunteering right for me? Emergency response is not for everyone. In spite of safety precautions, risks can include: physical danger and injury; exposure to potentially dangerous pathogens or chemicals; emotional trauma; and physical exhaustion. You need to consider personal, professional and family needs or concerns as you make an informed decision.  Some considerations might include personal health, childcare and family concerns.
  20. Are there emergency healthcare volunteer registries in other states?  Yes. If you move out of Oregon or you want to tell people in other states about becoming an emergency healthcare volunteer, SERV-OR and the Oregon Medical Reserve Corps units have counterparts across the nation.  Check two places:
  21. Which local Oregon Medical Reserve Corps units do not require a state-issued healthcare license or certification?  The MRC units of Coos County, Deschutes County, Linn County, Marion County, Nehalem Bay and Wasco County do not require a state-issued healthcare license or certification.  They welcome non-licensed volunteers in important support roles.
  22. If I do not have a healthcare provider license, or want to consider other volunteer groups, what other emergency volunteer programs are available?