In 2002, The Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps – a subsidiary of the United States Surgeon General – passed down a mandate that requires every state in the country to develop a program in which volunteers are recruited, trained and supplied with the resources to assist emergency personnel in the case of a natural or man-made disaster.
Called the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), these citizens act as supplementary assistance for medical and public healthcare officials that can help minimize chaos during an emergency by officiating with their presence.
However, while the governmental mandate required recruitment and training in every state, no resources were provided to give these volunteers the appropriate equipment.
As such, Direct Relief International – a global medical relief organization – designed and donated field-tested equipment packs to provide volunteers with the tools needed to maximize their utility.
Interestingly, a recent press release described that FedEx Corporation was recently recognized with the 2012 National Leadership and Partnership Award for sponsoring the development of Direct Relief's MRC Med-Pack Program, helping to put these tools into the hands of thousands of volunteers.
"Direct Relief's long experience responding to the some of the world's largest emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, has reinforced how important it is to ensure that the local health professionals have immediate access to the right resources when disaster strikes their communities," said Thomas Tighe of Direct Relief. "FedEx, which has such keen awareness of emergency preparedness and deep involvement in post-emergency response, understood this immediately and provided both the encouragement and lead sponsorship to make it happen."
Municipalities that need assistance in procuring the resources necessary to undertake such an expansive volunteer initiative would be well-advised to partner with a disaster preparedness consulting firm. These professionals can help regularly update business continuity plans as well as negotiate the best price possible on a remotely located hot site facility to optimally prepare a municipality to cope with emergency circumstances.