Senior citizens and retirees are especially invited to apply for membership in a volunteer organization that offers a second line of support during emergencies.
Now in its 11th year, the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps has more than 3,000 members in 76 counties, including professional health care providers who volunteer their time when necessary. Lay volunteers also are a key component of the organization.
“We also welcome volunteers of all ages and skill levels,” said Debi Wagner, state coordinator. “More than 40 percent of our volunteers have no medical training, and we need them every bit as much as we do our medical folks.”
The organization prepares for catastrophes such as tornadoes and floods, and man-made disasters that can include wildfires.
Health care professionals working together with nonmedical volunteers comprise the corps, which supplements first-responder emergency systems, Wagner said.
Disasters that could require mobilizing and deployment of reserve corps volunteers include explosions, biological and chemical threats and radiation hazards.
Some 125 volunteers are members of County Animal Response Teams, which provide care for livestock and pets after a disaster. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are needed as volunteers.
Lucien and Barb Jones, who are in their 60s and live in Oklahoma City, have had a variety of roles as corps volunteers.
“While we do need doctors and nurses, remember that it takes three to four nonmedical people to support each doctor or nurse in these situations,” Lucien Jones said.
John Call, 64, is a clinical and forensic psychologist from Oklahoma City who said the corps “is designed to provide health care services to both survivors and first responders” of disasters.
Dallas Littledeer, 54, of Tulsa, recently participated in “Operation Rain Drop,” when vital medications were delivered to distribution sites during a widespread epidemic drill. He is a fluent Cherokee speaker.