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The mission of the PHRC is to enhance Public Health's ability to respond to public health emergencies or disasters to limit injury, illness, suffering and death.

When every minute counts, the PHRC will play a major role with: 

  • Setting up, and running a temporary field hospital, medication center or supporting Mass Care Sheltering
  • Setting up and running pet and livestock shelters
  • Dispensing medications
  • Administering vaccinations
  • Providing information and support to the community
  • Conducting health screening
PHRC staff meeting

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) promotional videos

NACCHO has developed two videos to spread the word about the work of the MRC in communities across the country! The first video is a short promotion that can be used to recruit volunteers and is suitable for local TV networks. The second video is a longer overview about the scope of the MRC's volunteer activities and is great to share with your community's political and business leaders, partners, and stakeholders.

Why join the PHRC?

  • Make a difference in your community – give back
  • You will be the first to receive critical updates on emergencies and disasters
  • Team up with friends and colleagues
  • Learn how to better prepare for disaster
  • Fellowship
  • Gain valuable training

Who can volunteer with the PHRC?

Currently, Public Health is recruiting for the following:

Medical Reserve Corps logo

Licensed medical volunteer roles:

  • Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • EMT/Paramedic
  • Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Mental Health Counselor - Registered or Licensed
  • Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician
  • Physician and Physician Assistant
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Veterinarian
  • Vet Technician

Non-medical, non-licensed support volunteer roles (a very important need):

  • Administrative Support
  • Call Center Operator
  • Chaplains/Spiritual Care Worker
  • Driver
  • Flow Control
  • Greeter
  • Support Volunteer

Who cannot join the Public Health Reserve Corps:

  • King County employees – you already have a job during disasters
  • Minors – You must be at least 18 years old to join the PHRC
PHRC event preparation

Are you bilingual? We want you!

In an effort to ensure equal access to emergency information and services, Public Health - Seattle & King County is working to increase the language capacity and diversity among Public Health Reserve Corps volunteers. We are looking to build our reserve corps with volunteers who are multilingual and can provide culturally appropriate services to king county residents in the event of an emergency or disaster.

As you may know, the demographics of King County are changing and we are becoming increasingly diverse! Approximately 11% of King County residents speak English "not well" and 3% don't speak English at all. By joining the PHRC, you will be working with us to assure equity - before, during and after an emergency. Sign up today and help your community!

Questions about volunteering with the PHRC

Volunteer roles will vary, depending on the emergency or disaster and what staffing needs exist. Volunteers may also be assigned duties that are different from traditional every day work duties. For example, a physician may assist with checking blood glucose at a community fair, giving injections at a vaccination clinic, or providing patient education on carbon monoxide poisoning. Support volunteers may be asked to set-up hospital beds, enter patient data, or serve as a patient greeter. PHRC volunteers will not be assigned to roles that they do not feel comfortable with or that jeopardize their health and safety.

Examples of volunteer roles may include but not limited to:

Medical roles:

  • Dispensing antibiotics
  • Injecting vaccines
  • Reviewing health histories
  • Conducting medical screening
  • Performing patient exams
  • Patient care
  • Triage
  • Outreach and education
  • Basic life support

Non-medical roles:

  • Interpretation
  • Transporting patients
  • Staffing a call center to provide information about a disease
  • Setting up hospital equipment
  • Greeting and directing people through a medication center
  • Managing the flow of people through a medication center
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • HAM radio operation

Anyone who:

  • is 18 years old or older
  • successfully passes a criminal background check
  • is not employed by King County
  • works well in stressful situations
  • has good customer service skills
  • works well in a team

The Public Health Reserve Corps augments response activities by Public Health Seattle & King County in an emergency. Currently, volunteers in the program will be focused on specific Public Health response functions like mass vaccination clinics or setting up and operating alternate care facilities to support and relieve the hospital/health care system in time of disaster or emergency. For example:

  • During the whooping cough epidemic of 2012, PHRC volunteers staffed an emergency vaccination clinic and assisted the epidemiology department as disease investigators.

  • Every fall, PHRC volunteers provide free flu shots to the homeless in downtown Seattle and south King County.

  • During the 2012 snow storm, volunteers staffed Red Cross evacuation shelters, set-up a public information call center to field questions related to carbon monoxide poisoning, and took to the streets in the international district to hand out information and educate individuals on alternative methods to stay warm during power outages.

  • In our newest affiliation we are partnering with veterinary groups to address the needs of animals residing in King County to help stave off massive animal loss suffered in recent times such as Hurricane Katrina.

First and foremost, Public Health understands that your first commitment is to your employer. In a large emergency in which the health care system is impacted, your responsibilities are with your employer.

However, many type of events in which the Public Health Reserve Corps would assist will be of a smaller scale and may not have a significant impact on the larger health care system. In addition, the Public Health Reserve Corps is involved in community outreach in the absence of an emergency.

Students are encouraged to apply as a support volunteer. If students have an active professional license, they can apply as a medical volunteer.

Yes. Medical residents and interns will work under the supervision of Public Health – Seattle & King County's Medical Director or Chief of Pharmacy.

Yes. Retired medical professionals are valuable assets and are encouraged to apply. If they do not have an active professional license, they can apply as a support volunteer. If they have an active professional license, they can apply as a medical volunteer.

  1. Complete a WASERV volunteer profile by following the instructions below this FAQ.
  2. After receiving the application, the Public Health Reserve Corps will:
    • Review the application materials
    • Conduct a professional license check (for medical volunteer applicants)
    • Conduct a criminal background check
  1. Attend a PHRC volunteer orientation and complete required online FEMA courses.

The goal of this process is to ensure that:

  • Volunteers have clear expectations of the volunteer positions, and thus a rewarding experience.
  • Volunteers and the public are protected through a quality assurance screening procedure.

The minimum time required to become a volunteer is approximately 8 hours including orientation and online trainings. After becoming an active volunteer, the Public Health Reserve Corps is very much an opt-in experience; meaning that volunteers are able to choose their involvement level. Certain volunteers attend community outreach events, trainings, and drills consistently, whereas others provide support primarily during large scale incidents. Time spent volunteering during an emergency will vary depending on the scenario and volunteer availability.

The Public Health Reserve Corps strives to offer monthly trainings relevant to emergency response and personal preparedness. Previous trainings offered include: Psychological first aid, HAM radio operation, basic disaster life support, and family preparedness. During an emergency, volunteers will receive just-in-time training relevant to their role in the incident. Several drills, including a mass vaccination drill, are held a year that also allow volunteers to train on public health equipment and practice working together.

Professional continuing education credits are offered whenever possible.

Prior to acceptance into the PHRC, volunteers are required to complete the following training:

Once trainings and certifications are complete volunteers must provide copies of completion certificates to Public Health to include in volunteer personnel files.

Volunteers receive liability protection and compensation for injury or death through the State of Washington's Emergency Worker Program during State approved training events and emergency missions.

  • For liability protection description, see RCW 38.52.180(2)
  • For compensation for injury or death description, see RCW, and .190.
  • Washington state rules governing the Emergency Worker Program are contained in Chapter 118-04 WAC

More information:

No, volunteer time is uncompensated from King County.

The Public Health Reserve Corps is just one of many Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) programs in the county and Washington State. Learn more about Medical Reserve Corps units throughout the U.S.

PHRC new volunteer registration and orientation

The purpose of the New Volunteer Orientation is to provide a brief overview of the Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC), complete registration paperwork, ensure the PHRC is a perfect fit for you, take a photo for PHRC ID badge, and answer questions volunteers may have about the PHRC.

How to apply for the Public Health Reserve Corps

An online application must be submitted prior to attending Orientation.
To submit an online application, please go to and complete the instructions to register for WASERV (our online database hosted by the State of Washington)

  1. Select your county as "King"
  2. Select your unit as "Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Seattle/King County-Public Health Reserve Corps."

Orientation dates in 2017

Please RSVP at to let us know which date below you will be attending.

Date Time Location
Sat., May 20, 2017 10:00 am to 12:00 pm Chinook Building, Rm. 123
(ground floor behind elevators)
401 5th Ave, Seattle 98104
Thurs., June 8, 2017 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Chinook Building, Rm. 123
(ground floor behind elevators)
401 5th Ave, Seattle 98104

Thank you for your application! We look forward to meeting you!

To contact us, please email us at or use our online form.