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Building a strong MRC in Marion County
Sophia Grimm
By Sophia Grimm
In January 2014, Marion County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) held three membership meetings for its current and prospective members. There are currently 990 MRC units that form a national network. Each unit is made up of local volunteers dedicated to promoting public heath indicatives and augmenting health care staff during an outbreak or patient surge.
Marion County MRC has offered monthly trainings, quarterly exercises and assorted skills classes to all of its members and other community partners over the past year. These trainings were offered to ensure that volunteers could respond safely and effectively during a crisis. The flurry of educational activities that took place increased the unit’s membership from 15 to 65 volunteers in a mere 10 months. 
Because volunteers joined at different times, this years membership meetings were designed so all volunteers knew the origins of the MRC, how funding is obtained, why having medical licenses credentialed prior to an emergency is important and what insurance and liability protection is available to MRC members. The meetings also provided a great opportunity for Marion County to praise MRC volunteers for all their hard work and dedication!
John Vanderzanden, Marion County’s Emergency Manager said, “It is important for our members to understand different aspects of emergency preparedness and response, as well as their role within the MRC. Training as a unit and collaborating with other local emergency response partners helps build relationships and our understanding of joint agency capabilities.”
Marion County MRC members include licensed medical professionals and other volunteers who are interested in developing skills, training together and planning for disaster medical response. To be eligible for a real life deployment, the unit’s volunteers must attend a membership meeting every two years and a minimum of one quarterly exercise every year.

If you are interested in learning about and helping offer appropriate levels of health care response during a crisis, look up your local MRC Unit.

Marion County MRC 2013 activities ​ ​ ​
Skills classes 
  • Cascadia table top exercise
  • Oregon crisis care guidance
  • HAM radio for dummies
  • Hazmat for health care workers
  • Mass casualty incidents - Triage
  • Patient transfers
  • Basic first aid
  • Vital signs
  • CERT cache scavenger hunt
  • Great Oregon steam-up
  • Shelter/infirmary exercise with the American Red Cross and Linn and Yamhill MRC
  • Warming tent for the homeless and displaced

Next: Giving the gift of recess

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