Direct Relief USA provides Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers with ruggedized, specially designed backpacks filled with medical supplies to help address community health needs in an emergency.
Each MRC pack contains supplies and equipment to meet a variety of prevalent disaster-related health needs, including infection control, diagnostics, trauma care, and personal protection tools. The packs enable Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) members—trained, credentialed, medical personnel—to respond when disaster strikes.
“Without Direct Relief’s assistance, we would not be able to provide these packs to our medical volunteers and provide this level of preparedness that our community needs. ”>—Nancy Lapolla, Director, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Office of Emergency Services
MRC Pack Program
This program was developed by Direct Relief in collaboration with the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (Cal EMSA). The emergency preparedness packs provided to MRC members were created by Direct Relief with input from experienced emergency responders, including physicians from the UCLA School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh, emergency field physicians from Australian Aid International, and representatives from the Santa Barbara Public Health Department. The packs are designed to include the most critical items for emergency medicine in a streamlined, “grab and go” backpack. The packs include supplies for infection control, diagnostics, trauma care, and personal protection. Cal EMSA endorsed Direct Relief’s MRC Pack and has asked Direct Relief to equip all current MRC units in California.
To date, Direct Relief has provided 1,735 MRC packs to 21 MRC units across 18 counties in California, including Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles. This has been made possible by support from FedEx and other generous donors. Direct Relief plans to continue the expansion of the MRC program throughout California and to other states.
Through its initial work, Direct Relief received the Outstanding Medical Reserve Corps Partner Organization Award from the national Office of the Civillian Volunteer MRC organization in 2010. The MRC program has received overwhelmingly positive responses, from the national MRC agency, local county governments, MRC volunteers, and citizens of the supported counties.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize medical volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources and include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) pharmacists, dentists, and epidemiologists.
Why Focus on MRC?
- MRC units support first responders during local emergencies, and are often deployed to other areas throughout the U.S. where specific medical expertise is lacking.
- There are over 4,600 members of 45 MRC units in California and tens of thousands more nationwide that lack the appropriate medical resources necessary to mobilize in an emergency.
- There were 112 federal disaster declarations in the U.S. in 2012. Each one posed potential health risks for affected communities.
- 985 MRC units currently exist in the U.S., covering more than 91% of the 315 million people nationwide