Facts About CMRC


Who can join the Chesapeake Medical Reserve Corps (CMRC) unit?
Community members, with or without medical training, who are willing to support public health on a daily basis and/or during public health emergencies are encouraged to join. This includes health professionals from all of the health occupations. Non-medical volunteers may provide education, logistics, communication, coordination and other support. There are many positions in the CMRC that do not require medical skills.


Can I apply if I’m not currently licensed or practicing in a medical field?
Yes. CMRC needs both medical and non-medical volunteers. Some of the positions for volunteers will require licensure to protect the volunteer and patient and to comply with local, state and federal laws. In the event of a disaster, those with prior medical expertise could serve as medical interviewers, clinic coordinators, and in other positions. In addition to licensed medical personnel, there will be many needs for unlicensed health professionals as well as a need for those without medical training. CMRC provides training in emergency response, public health and other related fields to all volunteers.


How do I join the Chesapeake MRC unit?
Go to https://www.vamrc.org/vvhs/ to register online and select Chesapeake as the District and locality in which you would like to serve. Or, you may contact the CMRC Coordinator, Pamela Miller at ChesapeakeMRC@vdh.virginia.gov or 757-382-8719.


Am I obligated for volunteering for the CMRC if I work in a hospital or health care facility, serve in the military, have other work requirements or family commitments that do not allow me to volunteer at the time of an emergency?
You are a volunteer. Therefore, there are no set availability requirements. As a CMRC volunteer, you may be called to support a public health emergency response. All we ask is that you do your best to indicate your availability when you receive an alert message requesting volunteer support. By planning and preparing in advance of an emergency you will be ready to assist CMRC, and you know your family will be taken care of while you are gone. Certainly, we understand that in emergencies you may have work and family commitments that prohibit you from volunteering. The CMRC unit also participates in numerous non-emergency public health activities that you can be involved in if you have other commitments.


What liability protection is available for volunteers?
In 2005, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 2520 to ensure additional protection for MRC volunteers. MRC Volunteers who are called to a health event by a Virginia Medical Reserve Corps and volunteer under the direction of the Virginia Department of Health receive the same coverage under the state, when they are involved in state-sanctioned and directed programs. Similar protections apply to volunteers in Medical Reserve Corps directly tied to city or county government organizations when directed by representatives of those government agencies. You should not be placed in a position by any MRC to perform any task or skill that is outside your existing scope of practice or experience. Volunteers should protect themselves by only working within their scope of practice or skill at all times. There are also other liability protections that may apply to MRC volunteers when performing their duties.


Will I be asked to volunteer for an emergency event outside of Virginia?
CMRC volunteers are considered local resources. However, the National Medical Reserve Corps and disaster response agencies in other states have contacted us during emergencies requesting volunteer support, such as the Gulf Coast Response to Hurricane Katrina. You may have the opportunity, if you desire, to join the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps that supports the Department of Health and Human Services national response efforts or to deploy as a VA MRC volunteer in the support of a state-to-state response request. All volunteer requests and information will be provided by your local MRC coordinator. Volunteers wishing to deploy within the state and nationally are required to complete National Incident Management System and Incident Command System training. If you are willing to volunteer outside your local area please indicate that when applying to volunteer.


How will I be contacted in an emergency?
You will be notified by your local unit coordinator or emergency planner via the information that you provide when applying to the join the CMRC unit. A recorded audio message and email message will be sent to you. Therefore, it is very important that you keep your contact information current.


Who will have access to my personal information?
Only your local CMRC Coordinator, Chesapeake VVHS Local Administrative Users, and the State MRC Volunteer Coordinator will have access to this information for the purpose of identifying your desired volunteer role. Your personal information will only be provided to your local MRC unit or health district. Your permission will be required if there is a need to provide your information to any other organizations.


If I have concerns once I have volunteered, whom do I contact?
You may contact the Chesapeake MRC Coordinator, Pamela Miller, at 757-382-8654 orChesapeakeMRC@vdh.virginia.gov or you may contact the Chesapeake Health Department Emergency Planner/CMRC Director, Pamela Blair Miller, at 757-382-8654 or Pamela.B.Miller@vdh.virginia.gov.