PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 11, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Emergency Go-Kits Presented to Medical Reserve Corps Coordinators

 September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

The New Jersey Department of Health presented Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Coordinators an emergency "go-kit" at their quarterly meeting today at the Mercer County Fire Academy in Lawrenceville. The Medical Reserve Corp is a statewide county-based program comprised of health care professionals and community health volunteers.

Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Christopher Rinn presented each of the 25 Medical Reserve Corps coordinators with their own emergency kit as part of the Department's recognition of September as National Emergency Preparedness Month. The Department purchased 1,250 kits for Medical Reserve Corp volunteers, which will be distributed to members who regularly volunteer for emergencies.

Each go-kit contains an N-95 respirator, thermal blanket, flashlight, whistle, emergency poncho, first aid kit, light stick, food bar, drinking water, pad and pen, multi-function warmer, infectious waste disposal bags, AM/FM mini radio, and antiseptic towelettes.

"New Jersey's Medical Reserve Corps is a vital part of the state's overall emergency preparedness and response efforts," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "During the response to Superstorm Sandy, Medical Reserve Corps volunteers staffed shelters statewide and provided critical services to residents impacted by that historic storm."

All 25 Medical Reserve Corp units helped during Sandy with more than 300 individuals responding - some who were impacted themselves. Their work included assisting with pre-storm preparedness efforts, emergency shelter set-up, emergency communications, food and water distribution, daily hygiene needs, translation services, and care of the elderly and others with special needs.

"Giving Medical Reserve Corps members these kits provides them with another resource that will ensure that they are as prepared as possible to help the state respond to a public health emergency," Rinn added.

New Jersey's Medical Reserve Corps is comprised of more than 5,200 individuals statewide. Units are located in all 21 counties as well as in several municipalities. The Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are healthcare professionals -including doctors, nurses, social workers, emergency medical workers and health officers - or community volunteers who can provide clerical and support services. Healthcare professionals make up approximately 3,200 of the volunteers and more than 2,000 are community volunteers.

Any licensed or certified health care professional, practicing or retired, living or working in New Jersey can apply to be a healthcare member of the Medical Reserve Corps. Residents who are 18 years of age and older who have an interest in health care issues and are willing to serve during a public health emergency are encouraged to apply to become a community volunteer.

Individuals can submit an application online to volunteer for an MRC Unit where they reside or work. Once the application is submitted, an NJMRC Unit Coordinator will be in contact. Contact information for all NJMRC Unit Coordinators in New Jersey is available on the NJMRC website.

New Jersey's MRC program has developed a national reputation since it was formed in 2005 and is a great example of a state and local partnership that directly strengthens our communities. New Jersey was the first state to have a MRC in every county. During and after Hurricane Irene in 2011, hundreds of volunteers worked more than 40,000 hours in response and recovery activities.

For more information, visit the NJMRC registry website at www.njmrc.nj.gov.

The Department of Health produced a video describing ways families and individuals can prepare for any type of public health emergency which can be viewed at https://nj.gov/health/er/index.shtml/

Last Reviewed: 9/11/2014