AHMRC Volunteer Orientation

Welcome to the Arlington Heights Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer Orientation! We are so happy you have decided to join us in responding to the needs of our community in case of a disaster.  

Your willingness to be trained and ready to serve in this important role greatly affects our efficacy during a crisis. This online orientation will provide you the basic knowledge and skills needed to be able to assist the existing public health and medical communities in emergency response efforts.

Our corps of volunteers will be recruited from all levels of the healthcare industry and associations, those people willing to volunteer their time in case of emergency or disaster. These levels will include: doctors, nurses, EMT’s, pharmacists, pharmacy techs, dentists, dental techs, therapists, veterinarians, mental health practitioners, and environmental health specialists.

This orientation introduces volunteers to the procedures and protocols that will be used during an activation of the Medical Reserve Corps. It also provides all volunteers with the tools to safely and effectively respond to a wide variety of incidents affecting public health.

This distance learning module has been made possible by the assistance of the Franklin County and Columbus Medical Reserve Corps in Franklin County and Columbus, Ohio, with significant content and design input from the Boston Public Health Commission, Harvard School of Public Health Center for Public Health Preparedness, and the Del Valle Institute for Emergency Preparedness. Thank you to our colleagues who made this online orientation course possible.

Module 1: Objectives

This course should help you achieve seven learning objectives. These include:

  • Describing the purpose of the Arlington Heights Medical Reserve Corps, or AHMRC
  • Identifying when, where, and why volunteers will be asked to respond.
  • Identifying the steps you and your family should take before an emergency to ensure your personal safety.
  • How you would be called to action if needed.
  • Your role and function as a volunteer.
  • Identify what type of role you are likely to play in a response.
  • The management structure used in emergency response efforts and how you fit into it.
  • Additional volunteer opportunities.

History of the Arlington Heights MRC

  • 2002 Presidential address created the National MRC out of the Office of the Surgeon General
  • February 2008 – Arlington Heights MRC registration was approved by the Office of the Surgeon General, Medical Reserve Corps Program
  • Emergency Disaster Planning ongoing with Illinois Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health, and the EMA Coordinator from the Village of Arlington Heights.

Why do volunteers have to sign up now?
To identify and train volunteers before a disaster strikes, so that we can save time and lives during a disaster.

In the past few years emergency planners across the country have taken a keen interest in the role volunteers could play in a disaster. As we learned from watching the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and September 11, 2001, volunteers arrive on the scene regardless of whether or not there is a system to receive and process them. Volunteers arriving at the disaster site, without being trained, without known credentials or without being affiliated with an organization, often hindered recovery efforts despite their best intentions. Through hard lessons learned, we now know counties experiencing a disaster situation need verification of credentials in addition to screened and trained volunteers.

Why prepare?

  • Disease outbreaks
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorist attacks

Disaster = Need > Resources
A disaster is an event that exceeds the capabilities of the current response infrastructure. When disasters occur, the county, state or nation in which the disaster occurs could declare a state of emergency. Disasters may also occur on a smaller scale, when a local hospital, public health or Red Cross response system becomes overwhelmed, and the need is greater than the ability of these organizations to respond. When you signed up for the MRC, you chose the level of participation desired: active, limited, or emergency only. We will only contact you for participation occurring in the area in which you selected.

A Corps of Trained and Credentialed Volunteers
A team of trained, credentialed volunteers who stand ready to respond to a public health or medical emergency in our community:

  • Does not require a regular weekly or monthly commitment.
  • After completing this initial online orientation training, you will be required to fill out the Volunteer Application and mail it or drop it off at the Arlington Heights Health Services Department..
  • When the Health Services Department has verified that your credentialing information has been submitted, you will then receive a letter requesting that you visit our Arlington Heights Senior Center where you will be asked to review and sign the oath required by the Illinois Emergency Management Act of 2002. You will then have your picture taken for your MRC ID. The ID cards will be kept by the Health Services Department and provided at the time of an emergency. Please remember to bring your drivers license or valid State ID. Any questions you may have will be answered at this time.

The Mission of the Arlington Heights MRC
During times of major emergencies and disasters, all levels of government strive to handle the onslaught of needs that are brought to their attention from a variety of affected areas. In an effort to meet all of the needs, assistance and cooperation from numerous parties is required to resolve all the issues at hand.

Certain types of medical/healthcare incidences may overwhelm first responders, making it necessary to rely on other resources within the community.

By establishing a Medical Reserve Corps in Arlington Heights, healthcare volunteers can serve in support of first responders and area hospitals/extended care facilities in time of major emergencies or disasters. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a network of community-based, citizen volunteer Medical Reserve Corps units, which have been initiated and established after 9/11 for use in their communities.

Medical Reserve Corps units provide health professionals (current or retired) the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills within a planned, organized and coordinated local Medical Reserve Corps unit to supplement existing resources during times of emergency. An organized, well trained local MRC unit means that volunteers can effectively respond to an emergency within the initial 12-72 hour critical period to augment medical staff shortages; are familiar with their community’s response plan; know what materials are available for their use; know who their partners in the response are; and know where their skills can be best used in a coordinated manner.

Currently in Arlington Heights, there is no single entity that serves as a coordination point for volunteer services of this nature. Therefore the establishment of an Arlington Heights Medical Reserve Corps, under the Arlington Heights Citizen Corps Council, will provide this important service for our community.

Liability Protection in Illinois
Consult the Illinois Good Samaritan act, 745 ILCS 49/1 et. seq. This Act provides protection under certain circumstances for volunteers acting in good faith during an emergency. Those protected include:

  • People certified in CPR who provide emergency CPR
  • People using an AED
  • Physicians who provide emergency care without a fee
  • Advanced practice nurses who provide emergency care without a fee
  • Nurses providing emergency care without a fee
  • Physician assistants providing emergency care without a fee
  • First aid providers
  • Disaster relief volunteers

You must consult the Act for a full explanation of the circumstances under which protection is provided.

Role of Public Health in Emergency Response

  • Minimization of injury and suffering, promote community preparedness
  • Disease investigation and surveillance
  • Mass distribution of medication via point of distribution sites
  • Mobilize partnerships to identify and solve health problems before, during, and after a disaster

As a volunteer, you should have an understanding of our public health organizations’ focus during a disaster. These three points, the minimization of injury and suffering, disease investigation and surveillance, and the potential set up and drug distribution of a mass immunization of medication via point of distribution (POD) sites are our main concerns. Additional community needs, such as patient care, might also be met through the public health infrastructure during a disaster. We are planning and preparing for all types of hazards, and will need volunteers to help us accomplish these tasks in the case of an emergency. Mass distribution of medication is an important component to our planning process and is essential to a community-based, coordinated, and efficient response. 

Response Partners

  • Emergency Management Agency
  • County Health Departments
  • Red Cross/Salvation Army
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Police & Fire Departments
  • Citizen Corp
  • CERT Volunteers
  • Citizens Police Academy Volunteers
  • Hospitals

These partners work with the local health departments, federal agencies, and the MRC to create coordinated, local responses to community health needs during a disaster. Many county plans are being created and continually improved so that the health leadership effectively and efficiently responds to needs as they arise. In Cook County, emergency responses are coordinated by the local, county, State, and Federal Emergency Management Agencies. These agencies work with all other local stakeholders, like police departments, public schools, local health districts, nonprofits, media and others to create coordinated response plans for all types of potential hazards and to support the acquisition of needed supplies and support during an emergency.

What it Means To Be A Response Level Volunteer
Support medical needs during a disaster through the dispensing of medication, information, or medical care to those affected.

Response Level Volunteers would provide much-needed assistance to the Arlington Heights community during times of need. This could involve giving information to the public, registering people at special clinics, preparing and dispensing medication or caring for the medical needs of the public. You should never be asked to perform a task you are not licensed or trained to perform or do not feel comfortable performing.

Potential Roles
Volunteer assignments are made according to skill.

  • Clinicians should perform medical roles
  • Non-clinicians should assist with important support functions

When you filled out the MRC application, you provided information about your background, skills, and medical licensing. The Arlington Heights Health Services Department staff will verify that the license information you gave was accurate and that your license is up to date. Only licensed professionals will be asked to respond to the medical or pharmaceutical needs of the public. Clinically trained volunteers might be assigned to dispense medication, give vaccinations, provide patient screening, triage or care for patients.

Congratulations! You have completed Module 1: Objectives!

Module 2: Potential Causes for Activiation

Potential Arlington Heights MRC Activations
Infectious disease outbreak:

  • Intentional spread of disease, bioterrorism
  • Chemical or radiological attacks
  • Bombings or other explosions
  • Storms such as tornadoes, blizzards, floods (storms are not likely to require a MRC response unless they are quite large)
  •  

Points of Dispensing (POD) Volunteers may be called to respond to events that threaten the public’s health.

These events could be naturally occurring such as an outbreak of the flu or hepatitis; or they could be the result of an intentional act, such as bioterrorism. In both cases, stopping the spread of infection through treatment or immunization could help prevent widespread disease. In order to provide this treatment, we rely on you; our trained volunteer team.

Natural Disaster: Infectious Disease Outbreak
When an outbreak is detected the Arlington Heights MRC may set-up POD sites.

A few POD facts:

  • This is the most likely reason for MRC activation
  • Prevents further spread of disease through “prophylactic” medication
  • Arlington Heights Emergency Operations Disaster Plan has predetermined locations for POD distribution
  • Those that have already contracted the disease would be directed to medical treatment outside of the POD setting
  • Depending on the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health, MRC volunteers and their family may receive priority prophylaxis during a public health emergency

Infectious Disease Outbreak Examples: Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, New York City Smallpox Outbreak  in 1947

Infectious diseases such as the flu, hepatitis A, or meningitis, spread easily from person to person. If public health officials could prevent new infections early in the outbreak, they could greatly reduce the number of people who get sick. When an infectious disease outbreak is detected, public health professionals may set up a POD – Point of Dispensing. Dispensing medication to people who are vulnerable to infectious disease ensures that people who are well remain well.

One example of a large infectious disease outbreak is the great influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed almost 200,000 people in the United States during the month of October alone. War-time efforts and people living in close quarters increased the number of people affected by the illness. No organized response plan was in place, and no corps of volunteers existed, so the illness was very difficult to prevent and treat.

Smallpox vaccination clinics in New York City during the small pox outbreak of 1947 were staffed by 1,100 volunteer physicians and nurses, as well as over 300 non-clinical volunteers providing critical support. This corps of clinical and non-clinical volunteers administered over 2 million vaccinations, potentially saving countless lives. Prompt administration of this vaccine is thought to have been instrumental in preventing the widespread outbreak of smallpox.

Other Types of Natural Disasters:

  • Tornadoes or blizzards
  • Fires, floods, and earthquakes
  • Electrical outage lasting extended periods
  • Extreme temperatures

These types of events are less likely to cause the activation of the Arlington Heights MRC, but may still cause an activation in severe cases.

As a result of the catastrophic events following Hurricane Katrina, the federal government partnered with the American Red Cross and requested local Medical Reserve Corps assistance for the first time. While the Arlington Heights MRC typically responds only to local incidents affecting public health, volunteers may have opportunities to help staff mass care operations locally or nationally, to assist with sheltering, feeding, and first-aid activities. On your application form, you indicated whether you were interested in being informed of events that occur outside of our community. We will only contact you to volunteer in the areas in which you indicated. As is always the case, you will never be asked to fulfill a role for which you are not licensed or trained.

Intentional Disasters/Bioterrorism

  • The intentional spread of disease via water contamination, food contamination, aerosol release, disease exposure
  • Chemical or radiological attacks
  • Bombings or other explosions

The Arlington Heights MRC might also be called to help respond to an act of bioterrorism-the intentional spread of disease. Symptoms that occur as a result of bioterrorism would depend on the type of agent used. The number of people affected and the severity of the illness may be greater than with a naturally occurring disease. However, the same strategy would be employed in order to help prevent the further spread of disease.

These strategies include setting up and staffing clinics or PODs – to vaccinate or distribute medication to those affected by the event.

Other types of intentional disasters might include chemical or radiological attacks, or bombings such as those that occurred in Madrid, London, or Oklahoma City. Chemical or radiological attacks, if significant enough in scope, might require a response similar to the bioterrorism response. These events may require PODs to distribute medication.

Where Would Response Efforts Likely Take Place?

Pre-selected POD sites that have been surveyed for safety and accessibility.

Responses to public health or medical emergencies– the type of emergencies most likely to cause the activation of the Arlington Heights MRC—will typically take place locally, in pre-selected clinic or POD sites. These would be located in buildings large enough to accommodate large groups of people; including volunteers staffing the response, and those who are seeking assistance. These sites have been pre-selected based on criteria that make them safe and easy for people to access. People affected by the public health emergency would be directed to locations closest to them.

Both traditional and temporary health care facilities may also be in need of volunteers. In these settings, a volunteer coordinator would manage your assistance to the response, making sure you were only asked to perform tasks you were comfortable with and licensed to perform.

Congratulations! You have completed Module 2: Potential Causes for Activation!

Module 3: Steps to Prepare for Potential Emergency

While it is important for everyone to prepare for emergencies, as an Arlington Heights MRC volunteer it is especially important because you are likely to be away from home during a public health emergency. In this section, we will discuss the steps you and your family should take before an emergency occurs.

These include:

  • Thinking about your daily responsibilities, and how they would be affected during an emergency
  • Creating a family emergency plan
  • Understanding and practicing appropriate self-care

Simple things you should do ahead of time to plan for you and your family

  • Make a plan
  • Make a kit for home, car, work
  • Listen

Because you will most likely be asked to be away from home for at least 8 hours, it is important to have a plan in place to ensure your family and other loved ones will be taken care of while you are gone. Having a household emergency plan is also essential for emergencies that may require you and your family to stay at home and shelter-in-place. ‘Shelter in Place’ means to find a safe place right where you are. An emergency plan includes two elements-a plan for staying home and a plan for leaving. It is important to think through ahead of time how you will contact each other and where you should meet if you can’t go home. An emergency supply kit ensures that you have enough food, water, medication and essential supplies stockpiled. Listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency.

Make a Plan

  • Include contact numbers/emails for those you may need to reach – if phone lines are down, email may still be working
  • Include an out-of-town friend to act as your designated household contact
  • Include a plan for leaving quickly

 

Creating an emergency plan before an incident occurs ensures that those who depend on you for care are safe and accounted for. This plan should include all of those who are in your household, including pets. Make sure you provide information for all those you may need to contact, including school, home, office and cellular phone numbers.

Please keep in mind that different emergencies require different responses. Be ready to be flexible, and listen to the authorities!

Plan with your family

Emergencies happen. It can be a tornado, house fire, flood, or terrorist attack. No one wants to think about disasters, but being prepared for an emergency can help protect your family.

Consider having an out-of-town friend or relative act as your designated contact person. Sometimes local phone lines are tied up when a large number of people are attempting to make calls. Long distance carriers are sometimes available when local lines are tied up. Even if telephone lines are not working, email may be accessible. Let your family know ahead of time of your plans to be a volunteer. Ask a friend or relative to care for your family members, children, or pets while you are assisting with a response. Make sure this person understands their role, and be sure to share your emergency plan with them. Make a plan for several different routes in different directions, and bring an emergency kit with you.

Prepare a Kit

  • First aid supplies, prescription medications
  • Battery powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries

Having and maintaining an emergency supply kit is another important element of your emergency plan. It ensures that those in your household who remain at home are well-prepared if they are asked to “shelter-in place” at home. When creating a kit, think about the types of things that your family would need if they were without power or water for 3 days, or if there was a serious blizzard. This should include first aid supplies and medications, a flashlight, a battery powered radio and batteries.

  • Non-perishable food, a can opener
  • One gallon of bottled water per person per day
  • Multivitamins
  • Cash and copies of important family documents

Your kit should also include non-perishable food items such as tuna fish, granola bars, and dried fruit. Be sure to include a gallon of water per person per day. Don’t forget to include water for your pets. Multivitamins are an important part of emergency kits, to keep you healthy during stressful times. Keep a copy of important family documents, including passports or other photo identification, in your supply kit. This allows you to be able to quickly leave your house with all your necessary paperwork if leaving becomes necessary. Include photocopies of any prescription medications you may be taking.

  • Special needs items for babies, pets, other dependants
  • Keep a copy of your plan with your kit
  • Include a smaller kit for your car and office

If there are members of your household that have special needs, make sure to also include those items. Don’t bring this kit with you to your volunteer site; keep it in a safe place in your home in the event of an emergency. Don’t forget about supplies for your pets! A kit in your car should include a gallon of water, several cans of food, a sleeping bag, extra money and first aid supplies. Keep a copy of your family’s emergency plan with your supply kit for easy reference.

Another component of emergency preparedness involves being prepared to “shelter-in-place.” Some situations, such as the release of certain types of contaminants into the environment, will not require a POD-based response. These conditions may require you to shelter-in-place. You will be informed via media outlets if you should take this precaution to keep yourself and your family safe. When you shelter-in-place, you may be asked to stay inside and lock your doors. Turn off all fans and air conditioners, and seal windows, doors and vents. Move to the most interior portion of the house or office, making sure to have a telephone and a radio to keep abreast of information updates and further instructions.

Listen

  • To a battery-powered radio, with extra batteries
  • To community officials

  • Self Care

    So you are always prepared to assist in an emergency, another important thing to think about is self-care. We all experience some stress on a daily basis, but emergencies bring new and intensified stress.

    Self care is an important tool that could help you maintain mental and physical health. Be aware of your typical reactions to stress, and get to know what activities can help alleviate stress for you.

    Emergency events are stressful not only for those who are directly affected by the incident, but also for those who participate in response efforts. Emergency responders often disregard their own comfort to ensure that the people they serve receive help. Remember, you are best able to help others when you take proper care of yourself.

    Be conscious of how you feel as you participate in a response. Be sure to communicate with your supervisor at the response site if you need to take a break to manage your stress. Some of the MRC volunteers asked to respond to an event will be mental health professionals. These people will be available to support the staff and volunteers at the site.

    Many actions could help prevent undue stress before it occurs, as well as manage it while you are in a stressful situation. For example: Know and respect your limits. If you feel exhausted and need time off, take a break. Studies have shown that physical activity is a great way to help alleviate stress. Go for a 15 minute walk during a lunch or coffee break, join your local gym, or participate in a group exercise class. Maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water. Avoiding excessive use of caffeine and alcohol could also be helpful. Getting enough sleep is a challenge for many people on a daily basis, and even more difficult during stressful situations, but try to get as much sleep as possible.

    Congratulations! You have completed Module 3: Steps to Prepare for Potential Emergency!

    Module 4: Arlington Heights Activation Procedure

    Activation 
    Arlington Heights MRC volunteers will be contacted by the Arlington Heights Emergency Management Agency during the Activation Phase in the event you are needed in response to an incident.

    Remember, your decision to participate in response efforts is voluntary. When you receive a request for assistance, evaluate whether you are in a position to help. The Arlington Heights MRC understands that your primary responsibilities lie with your family and employer. If your employer needs your help during an emergency, the Arlington Heights MRC understands that you may not be able to serve with our organization during the emergency. If you rely on public transportation for travel, please consider the availability and frequency of these services, and watch the news for potential additional mass transportation options. If you feel that you are able to help, notify your family of your intentions and activate your Family Emergency Plan.

    The next step is to report to the site at the time and place specified by the Arlington Heights Emergency Management Agency phone call. The call will include specifics on where to report and who to report to when you arrive. The call will also include important details about the event. You will be reminded to bring your driver’s license or other form of identification in order to receive your Medical Reserve Corps badge. Know that everything you need, including supplies and training, should be provided to you when you arrive.

    Operations
    The operations phase is the phase of the process where the actual volunteer service takes place.

    • You will likely be asked to work an 8 hour shift
    • Security will be provided
    • You will be asked to provide your drivers license or other form of identification in order to receive your MRC badge
    • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
    • Bring any needed medication with you to the site, but try to keep personal belongings to a minimum
    • Food and water will likely be provided
    Please remember that security will be provided at the response site, and that Arlington Heights MRC volunteers may not bring any weapons into the response setting. This rule will be enforced, and volunteer dismissal may ensue if this rule is broken.
    • Security will be provided
    • Volunteers for the Arlington Heights medical reserve corps may not bring weapons to any response effort
    • No guns, knives, or other implements intended to harm another individual will be allowed on the premises

    Just-In-Time Training: a short training on the day of the response. 

    • Ensures specific procedures are fresh in your mind
    • Takes place at centralized location or at the site
    • Provides background information you need to safely participate in a response

    POD procedures will vary for different types of emergencies, so pre-event training for all volunteers is not practical. Just-In-Time training ensures that specific procedures are fresh in your mind. All Arlington Heights MRC volunteers are provided with Just-in-Time training at a centralized location or at the POD site before assisting in an event. This Just-in-time training serves as an orientation, and lets you meet other volunteers in your unit. Training should give you the appropriate background you need in order to safely and effectively participate in a response. All emergency response in Arlington Heights operates from a centralized command system. For the purposes of your volunteer service, you should report to only one supervisor within your unit. That supervisor should be introduced to you at the time of the training. All POD volunteers should receive preventative medicine or vaccine if needed.

    Deactivation & Debriefing 

    This phase takes place when your volunteer services are no longer needed. During a disaster, if your availability permits you may be asked to serve for more than one shift. Deactivation occurs after you have served your last shift.

    • This phase occurs after the disaster is over
    • Gathers feedback from all volunteers who respond to the event
    • Please let us know at this time if you have any needs that have not been met
    • May take the form of an interview, a survey, or a focus group session, and will assist in improving the future success of the MRC program

    Congratulations! You have completed Module 4: Arlington Heights Activation Procedure!

    Module 5: Possible Roles for MRC Volunteers

    What is expected of volunteers?

    • Ensure your family is taken care of
    • Work safely and collaboratively
    • Follow leadership of your supervisor
    • Perform assigned function
    • Maintain patient confidentiality – HIPAA
    • Use common sense-wash your hands often, cover your cough, and clinicians should follow best practice guidelines for personal and client safety

    We ask all volunteers who participate in a response to thoroughly evaluate their ability to respond to an incident. For this reason, we ask Volunteers directly affected by an incident to take care of themselves and their family members. We also ask that volunteers are able to work collaboratively with other members of a team, which could include other Volunteers, and your supervisor. It is important that all volunteers work within their specific function. We will not ask or expect you to perform duties outside your level of comfort and licensure.

    Volunteering requires that you keep patient information confidential. Volunteers are expected not to share patient information with those who are not providing direct care to the patient. The law known as HIPAA– the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-applies to all locations where health care is provided. It ensures privacy of the individuals we serve.

    Potential roles
    Volunteer assignments are made according to skill

    • Clinicians should perform clinical roles
    • Non-clinicians should assist in other important functions

    There are two types of volunteers, those with clinical backgrounds, and those who are not clinically trained. The application you filled out asked for information including contact information, special language skills, medical background, training and/or licensure.

    This information is entered into our database. During a response this information is utilized in order to assign volunteer roles appropriately. Volunteers with medical backgrounds and training include: Registered Licensed Nurses, Doctors, Pharmacists, Allied Health Professionals, Faculty Members, Clinicians, Behavioral Health Professionals, and others with advanced clinical training and licensure.

    Volunteers who are from non-medical backgrounds include: CERT volunteers, Citizens Police Academy volunteers, community members, students of various disciplines, people with diverse language skills, administrators and others interested in lending their unique skills to response efforts.

    Details about your role
    During just-in-time training you should be given your assigned role and the duties of your role should be discussed. You should also receive a job action sheet that clearly defines your volunteer function.

    Below are some potential clinician roles:

    • Triage of patients
    • Medical interviewing
    • Dispensing medication
    • Assisting response personnel
    • First aid, education
    • No surgery or complex procedures

    Below are some specific roles volunteers might fill. Medical volunteers provide direct and essential services to the community including:

    • Registering residents
    • Interviewing and triaging patients
    • Dispensing medication or administering vaccinations in a POD
    • Providing medical interpretation
    • Assisting other medical personnel with response activities

    Who are the volunteers? Volunteers can be active, inactive and/or retired health professionals and others with related skills:

    • Physicians (MD/DO)
    • Physician assistants
    • Nurse practitioners
    • Certified nursing assistants
    • Health educators/administrators
    • Dentists/dental assistants/dental hygienists
    • Mental health practitioners
    • X-Ray techs, respiratory therapists, lab technicians
    • Pharmacists/pharmacy technicians
    • Veterinarians
    • Epidemiologists
    • Radiology technicians
    • Microbiologists laboratory technicians
    • Environmental engineers
    • Environmental health specialists
    • Industrial hygienists
    • Dieticians
    • Occupational/physical therapists
    • Social workers
    • Clergy
    • Massage therapist
    • Respiratory therapists

    Below are some potential non-clinician roles:

    • Assist with clinic or POD operations
    • Patient registration
    • Clinic or POD management
    • Patient education
    • Computer systems management

    Non-medical volunteers are also a critical part of response efforts. Each non-medical volunteer performs an important function by supporting key elements of a response.

    Some of these roles include assisting with clinic or POD operations: Registering patients, assisting in patient flow into a clinic or POD site, monitoring lines patients are standing in, providing patients with education about the incident or the process as they move through the clinic or POD, or distributing fact-sheets about certain illnesses to patients. Providing language translation to patients who are non-English speaking is another important role for non-clinical volunteers. Volunteers with clerical and computer skills will also be beneficial to the response effort.

    Congratulations! You have completed Module 5: Possible Roles for MRC Volunteers!

    Module 6: Management Structure

    In this section we will discuss the management tools used during an emergency response.

    You should learn the basic components of the management tool, called the Incident Command System, and how it applies to you. Scene safety is an important element of the Incident Command System. You should learn proper scene safety and reporting procedures that you should use during an emergency response.

    How emergencies are managed
    Emergencies and large events are managed using the Incident Command System (ICS)

    The incident command system, or ICS for short, is used to prepare for and respond to emergencies. It is used by all emergency response agencies and provides a common language for all responders so that miscommunications are kept to a minimum. It also outlines a clear reporting structure which provides support and creates accountability for all members of the response team.

    Basic Incident Command System (ICS) Structure and Roles

    The ICS consists of several key positions.

    These are not roles that response level volunteers should be tasked with; however it's important to know about the management structure under which you should operate.

    The Incident Commander oversees the entire response. The Safety Officer ensures that all activities occurring are safe for volunteers and the responders.

    The Public Information Officer is tasked with coordinating information to the media and the public. The Liaison Officer coordinates with other response agencies.

    The remaining positions, called section chiefs, can be summarized quite simply.

    • Operations-carries out the response.
    • Planning-anticipates what could be needed in the coming hours or days.
    • Logistic-supplies operations with everything they need to carry out the response.
    • Finance-tracks what is spent on the response.

    Arlington Heights MRC volunteers will work under the operations or logistics section chiefs carrying out the response or providing support.

    Why ICS Works During Emergencies

    • Used by all emergency response agencies to prepare for and respond to emergencies
    • Provides a common language for all responders to keep miscommunications at a minimum
    • Outlines a clear reporting structure which provides support and creates accountability for all members of the response team
    • Provides structure for coordinating with media & public through the Public Information Officer.
    • If you are approached by the media, contact your supervisor immediately

    ICS works during emergencies because it addresses the most common problems encountered during an emergency response: poor communications and lack of clear authority. It provides structure for integrating with other responding agencies, because all emergency response agencies use the same ICS system to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

    It is essential that everyone communicate in a standard manner. It is important to minimize agency-specific jargon. Emergencies require standardized methods for:

    • Evaluating the incident
    • Reporting the information
    • Responding to the victims

    ICS provides a very specific reporting structure so that each responder knows what they are responsible for and whom to report. This also assures that adequate communications occur between volunteer responders, among responding agencies, and with the media.

    How ICS applies to you

    • Answer to only one person
    • Stay within assigned roles
    • For safety reasons, never enter a scene, POD, or clinic site without first telling
    • your supervisor
    • As part of the reporting structure, you should not start a new role, leave your old role, or leave the site without first speaking with your supervisor.

    ICS keeps volunteers and the people we serve safe.

    ICS creates a system where you will answer to one person, you stay within your assigned role, do what you are assigned to do within that role, and you know how to do it.

    As part of the reporting structure, you should not start a new role, leave your old role, or leave the clinic or POD without first speaking with your supervisor. It is essential that all personnel at a response follow these basic rules in order to assist in a unified response.

    Scene Safety Tips

    • Follow the pre-established Emergency Management Structure
    • Do not leave your assigned area without notifying your supervisor
    • Let your supervisor know when you need a break
    • Never talk to media representatives without first alerting your supervisor

    For your safety, and the safety of others, it is important that you follow the pre-established incident management structure. It is also important that you do not leave your assigned area without first notifying your supervisor. Also, remember to monitor how you’re feeling and be sure to let your supervisor know when you need to take a break.

    Congratulations! You have completed Module 6: Management Structure!

    Module 7: Next Steps

    You have almost completed your orientation

    Please proceed by taking the orientation quiz. This quiz is required to assure that you have an understanding of the material you just reviewed and that you are ready to join the Arlington Heights Medical Reserve Corp. When you submit your quiz you will receive an e-mail response with your score. You are required to receive a 70% correct or better to pass. If you do not pass on the first try simply review the material and take the course again. As mentioned, our goal with the quiz is to assure that you have a basic understanding of our MRC program.  

    When you have successfully passed the quiz, you must complete our Volunteer Application and Background Authorization forms. Please mail these forms to the Village of Arlington Heights Health Services Department at 33 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005 or fax to 847.368.5980. Once you have passed the quiz and your forms have been approved, you will receive a letter or email from the Arlington Heights Health Services Department. You will be asked to visit the Arlington Heights Senior Center to take the oath required by the Illinois Emergency Management Act of 2002. You will also have the opportunity to ask any additional questions regarding our MRC. Also at this time, your AHMRC Photo ID will be taken. The AHMRC ID card will be kept by the Arlington Heights Health Services Department and distributed at the time of an emergency.

    When the Arlington Heights Health Services Department has verified that you have satisfactorily completed the aforementioned requirements, you will then receive an AHMRC Member Certificate in the mail that we hope you display proudly.

    Depending on the level of participation desired which you selected on the Volunteer application; you will then receive information on training opportunities and other activities planned by the AHMRC.

    Thank you for considering joining the AHMRC. Your participation will help to ensure the good health of our community following a public health or medical emergency. The Arlington Heights Health Services Department will be contacting you soon.