Atlantic County is seeking health professionals who are willing to volunteer during the time of an emergency and respond to residents in need.

The medical personnel will help the county prepare for and respond to major hazards that hit the area.

The Atlantic County Medical Reserve Corps is made up of volunteers who can assist the Atlantic County Division of Public Health and its emergency partners during emergencies such as the June 2012 derecho or Hurricane Sandy in October.

Any licensed or certified health care professional, either currently practicing or retired, who is at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen can apply for membership in the Medical Reserve Corps.

Duties may include serving in clinics or smaller sites to distribute antibiotics or provide vaccinations to prevent people from becoming ill. In addition, volunteers can join members of the county's Community Emergency Response Team at these sites to work as greeters, translators, child-care workers, clergy and religious leaders, customer service attendants, information technology assistants, food support/canteen workers and general helpers.

County spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said officials have seen the need for having additional medical professionals helping out. The MRC members can help those who may not be able to be served immediately by EMTs or reach a hospital, she said.

By signing up now, the new members can be trained and ready for the next emergency situation.

"We don't want to be scrambling during an emergency," Gilmore said. "So many people have been wonderful and offered to help out. This is a way for us to be prepared ahead of time."

New MRC members attend a three-session orientation that includes training on personal preparedness, pandemic influenza, personal protective equipment, operations at health sites, and the role of the MRC. Members can receive additional training in the Incident Command System, CPR, psychological first aid, and call center operations.

Contact Joel Landau:

609-272-7215

Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac

To learn more

For more information about the MRC, call the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5853. To submit an application see njmrc.nj.gov/hcpr/jsp/signup.jsp