About the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps

What is the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps?

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a community-based, civilian, volunteer program that helps build the public health infrastructure and response capabilities of communities in Maryland. Maryland Responds is composed of dedicated Responders who stand ready to volunteer their skills, expertise and time to support ongoing public health initiatives and to assist during emergencies. Maryland Responds, previously known as the Maryland Professional Volunteer Corps, is administered by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Office of Preparedness and Response (OP&R).

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Who are Maryland Responders?

Maryland Responders are dedicated volunteers who stand ready to respond to the public health needs of our community. Whether it’s responding to a natural disaster or helping community members prepare for flu season, Maryland Responders are Ready for Anything. Maryland Responders include medical and public health professionals, such as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and epidemiologists. Many other non-medical community members also support the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, such as interpreters, chaplains, office workers, and legal advisors. Everyone has a role in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies! Click HERE to view occupation categories.

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What do Maryland Responders do?

Maryland Responders may deliver a variety of necessary public health services during a crisis, such as providing care directly to individuals seeking medical or mental health attention at disaster relief shelters. Volunteers may also serve a vital role by assisting their communities with ongoing public health needs (e.g., immunizations, screenings, health and nutrition education, volunteering in community health centers and local hospitals). For more information, click HERE to view our Quarterly Newsletters and Responder Spotlight Articles.

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Who should register for Maryland Responds?

Membership is open to anyone over 18 years of age who is interested in promoting public health and assisting in the event of an emergency. Whether you are an actively licensed health care professional, student, retired health professional or someone with an interest in volunteering during emergencies, you are encouraged to register. Because many health personnel will already be committed to a role during an emergency, there is a need to recruit non-medical personnel who can assist health professionals during emergency responses.

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How do I register for Maryland Responds?

Help us prepare and protect our community by becoming a Maryland Responder today. Sign up to volunteer with Maryland Responds through the Maryland Responds Registry at https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov/.

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I started my application but had to logout before I completed my Responder profile. How do I complete the registration process?

  • If you have started but have not completed registering, you will need to log in with the username and password you initially provided when you started the registration process.
  • If your account is not in the system, you will need to start the registration process from the beginning.
  • If you have forgotten your username or password, click on the "Forgot Username/Password?" link under the login box or contact us for additional assistance.

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What do I do after I complete my registration?

Registering with Maryland Responds is the first step on your Road to Readiness. Once registered, new members are considered Responders-in-Training until they complete the steps to reach Ready Responder Status. Ready Responder Status indicates your readiness to deploy with the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. All Responders must complete the Road to Readiness steps to become eligible for deployment. To determine where you are in your Road to Readiness, visit our Road to Readiness webpage available HERE.

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Responder Profile

What is my Responder profile?

Your Responder profile refers to the online profile you created when you registered with the Maryland Responds Registry. It stores all of your contact information as well as your training and deployment records. Once you have completed the initial registration process, you will be able to log in to your account to update your information at any time using your username and password. Log into your Responder profile here: https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov/

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What type of information do I need to provide in my Responder profile?

When you register, you will be asked to read and consent to the terms of service agreement and then will be asked to provide information specific to you and your skills. This information will be used for establishing your emergency credentialing level (ECL) which determines how your skills can best be used when needed.

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Is my registration information safe?

Every possible step relating to data integrity and security is taken by the staff in order to prevent abuse and protect participants' privacy. All communications between your browser and this site are encrypted. Please review the Privacy Policy and contact us if you would like further information.

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If I’m no longer available to volunteer, how do I remove my name from your registry?

You can change your account status to “inactive” by logging into your profile, selecting the "Settings" tab, and changing ”Account Status" from "active" to "inactive." Inactive status means that you will no longer be contacted for potential emergency deployments or receive program updates. You can change your account status back to active at any time by logging into your profile at https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov/ and selecting "active" on your account settings page. Even if you are unable to respond to our call-for-volunteers at this time, your membership is still very important to us. By re-activating your account you will at least be notified of emergencies, shelter openings, hospital evacuations, etc. You will also continue to receive training and continuing education opportunities and other important information from us.

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Under organizations in the Registry, why am I listed as “rejected” by the state?

You've done nothing to be literally "rejected" from the State Medical Reserve Corps organization. We place volunteers in the 'organization' corresponding to their county of residence -- thus, we moved you from the State organization (no county) to your county’s organization. Unfortunately, the online system lacks the sophistication to hide this background noise from volunteers and uses the word "rejected" to tell you that you've been moved from an organization. You will continue to receive emails from your county administrators as well as the State Medical Reserve Corps.

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Responder Protections

As a Maryland Responder, what are my liability and workers' compensation protections?

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps is a state volunteer program. As such, Maryland Responders are covered by State of Maryland liability and workers' compensation protections when they are deployed by the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. Please keep in mind that this ONLY applies when the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps deploys volunteers on a mission. If you are a volunteer deployed by volunteer organization other than the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, you are not covered under State protections during that deployment. See the State of Maryland Government Article §12-10 for more information on volunteer status.

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What about my personal safety when I volunteer?

Maryland Responders will be needed in various situations. Some deployments may place volunteers in adverse conditions that may present some risk to their well-being. Living conditions may be very basic and some resources may be scarce. Activation requests will contain details about a deployment site so that volunteers may make an informed decision about whether to accept a deployment. Maryland Responders may choose to refuse to respond to an activation request. Every attempt is made to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers responding to events; this is a guiding principle of emergency response. A safety officer may be appointed to monitor conditions. Maryland Responders are only asked to respond to situations that have provisions for their safety.

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When will I be requested to deploy?

Maryland Responders will be called upon when local resources have been exhausted or are overwhelmed and additional help has been requested. In non-disaster situations, Maryland Responders may be asked to assist with community public health efforts, such as seasonal flu clinics. Volunteer opportunities are dependent on a need, so they often cannot be predicted or scheduled in advance. When a need arises, you will receive an activation request from the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. You will then respond with your availability.

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Do I have to be available whenever a request is made?

Membership with Maryland Responds does not require or imply 24/7 hour availability to the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps.

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What kind of tasks would I be assigned?

All major tasks will be outlined in the activation request, and they vary based on situational needs. You may be asked to perform tasks related to your profession, trade or skills, or you may be given an opportunity to assist with duties unrelated to your profession. These tasks will be within your scope of practice or your medical license. You may always refuse to accept a mission do an assignment if you are uncomfortable with it for any reason.

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Are there any provisions for compensating me for time lost from work or other expenses?

There are no provisions for compensating volunteers. Some expenses MAY be covered depending on the organization requesting assistance or the specific deployment. If you are asked to volunteer, you will receive additional information regarding what will or will not be covered at that time. It your sole responsibility to make arrangements with your employer to request time off. The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps does not have the authority to authorize time off from your job for you to volunteer.

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What are the minimum training requirements?

To prepare for deployment, all Responders at a minimum must complete the Maryland Responds Orientation.

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What other type of training will I receive as a Maryland Responder?

As a Maryland Responder you have access to a comprehensive emergency response and preparedness training program which will enhance your ability to respond effectively. Training topics range from psychological first aid to state shelter operations. For more information on volunteer training opportunities, visit our Training page.

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Can I receive continuing education units (CEUs) by attending Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps training sessions?

Continuing education credits/hours may be available for attending Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps training sessions. Contact us ahead of the training for specifics: mdresponds.health@maryland.gov.

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What are the benefits of registering with Maryland Responds?

  • By volunteering with Maryland Responds, you will have the opportunity to train and work with local and state emergency management and response officials and gain valuable hands-on experience in disaster preparedness and public health emergency response.
  • Members receive emergency alerts, preparedness information, access to free trainings and the opportunity to volunteer to support emergency response efforts, ongoing public health initiatives and community disaster preparedness drills.
  • Volunteering with Maryland Responds is a simple and effective way to use and improve those skills while helping to keep your family, friends and neighbors safe and healthy.
  • Volunteering can give you the great satisfaction of helping others. For many individuals, volunteering provides a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
  • Volunteering provides opportunities for social interactions with fellow volunteers and supports an important activity in the community. Interacting with others with a common interest is also a great way to create new relationships and to build your professional network.
  • Volunteering can have a significant effect on your own health. Research presented by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. For more information, see The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research: http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr_brief.pdf.

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How does the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps benefit the community?

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps provides several benefits to the community. Major local emergencies can overwhelm the capability of first responders, especially during the first 12-72 hours. Having citizens who are prepared to take care of themselves, their families and others during times of crises will allow first responders to focus their efforts on the most critical life-threatening situations. An organized and well-trained Medical Reserve Corps unit translates into volunteers who can effectively respond to an emergency, are familiar with their community’s response plan, know that materials are available for their use, recognize partners in the response area and know where their skills can be utilized to their best advantage in a coordinated manner. Additional benefits of the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps to the community include:

  • Enhances Maryland’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities by augmenting county and state-level public health and medical services with a source of pre-identified, credentialed and trained volunteers.
  • Enables communities to meet specific health needs and affords the local community more autonomy by reducing the dependence on state and national resources.
  • Gives community members the opportunity to participate in developing strategies to make their communities healthier and safer.
  • Enables dialogue between emergency management and public health agencies.
  • Provides a collaborative atmosphere for information sharing and coordination among response partners.

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Contact Information

Who can I contact for more information?

For questions or for more information, contact the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps State Program at mdresponds.health@maryland.gov or your local unit administrators. Click HERE for local unit contact information.

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