Public Health Reserve Corps
At this time, we are only accepting volunteers who are licensed medical professionals, amateur radio operators (HAMs), and/or bilingual or multilingual.
The Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC) is a group of local medical and non-medical volunteers who provide surge support of Public Health during a public health emergency or disaster.
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 medication center
- Supporting the health and medical needs of people in emergency shelters
- Dispensing medications or administering vaccinations
- Providing information and support to the community
- Conducting health screening
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
- Gain valuable training
PHRC volunteers at the Seattle King County Clinic
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 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:
- Dispensing antibiotics
- Injecting vaccines
- Reviewing health histories
- Conducting medical screening
- Performing patient exams
- Patient care
- Outreach and education
- Basic life support
- 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
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!
PHRC language volunteers receive briefing.
The PHRC is currently recruiting for the following:
Licensed medical volunteer roles:
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
- Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurse
- Physician and Physician Assistant
- Registered Nurse
Non-medical, non-licensed support volunteer roles:
Sorry, at this time, we are currently only accepting licensed medical volunteers. Please check back at a later date about new non-medical volunteer roles.
PHRC Volunteers at Community Fair
Licensed medical volunteer qualifications
Licensed medical, nursing, or public health students
If students have an active professional license, they can apply as a medical volunteer.
Medical residents and interns
Medical residents and interns will work under the supervision of Public Health — Seattle & King County's Medical Director or Chief of Pharmacy.
Retired medical professionals
Retired medical professionals are valuable assets and are encouraged to apply. If they have an active professional license, they can apply as a medical volunteer.
Non-medical, non-licensed volunteer qualifications
- is 18 years old or older
- successfully passes a criminal background check
- is not employed by King County government
- works well in stressful situations
- has good customer service skills
- works well in a team
Who cannot become a volunteer?
King County employees
King County employees will be needed to support King County operations during disasters.
You must be at least 18 years old to join the PHRC.
The Public Health Reserve Corps augments response activities by Public Health — Seattle & King County in a medical emergency or disaster. Currently, volunteers in the program will be focused on specific Public Health response functions, augmentation of the Tuberculosis or Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunizations programs’ response, mass vaccination clinics or support of local disaster shelters.
- In 2017, our volunteers have provided support to Public Health in response to TB and mumps.
- Every fall, PHRC volunteers support Public Health's Healthcare for the Homeless Network to provide free flu shots to the homeless in downtown Seattle and south King County.
- Our volunteers provide medical support for shelters opened by the American Red Cross in response to apartment fires that displace large groups of citizens.
PHRC Volunteers providing support at Community Exchange
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.
- In order to keep our medical volunteers skills sharp and practice Incident Command System (ICS) we operate several medical support points in the at risk community where our volunteers provide first aid and referrals.
- Each year our volunteers provide medical and support volunteers to the running of the Seattle King County Clinic
- Each year our volunteers staff the Veterans Stand Down
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.
The Public Health Reserve Corps strives to offer 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.
Required training and certification of PHRC volunteers
Prior to acceptance into the PHRC, volunteers are required to complete the following training:
- Sign up for and attend the PHRC volunteer orientation described below
- FEMA's introduction to the Incident Command System
- FEMA's National Incident Management System
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 38.52.260, .290, .340, and .190
- Washington state rules governing the Emergency Worker Program are contained in Chapter 118-04 WAC
Volunteer time is uncompensated from King County.
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 waserv.org and complete the instructions to register for WASERV (our online database hosted by the State of Washington)
- Select "Register for WASERV" on left side of page
- Click on "Add Organization"
- Click the + on Washington State Responders"
- Click the + on "Counties"
- Click "King County Organizations"
- Select Public Health Reserve Corps (MRC)
Select an orientation
Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you will be attending an orientation date below. Please also include the volunteer category you identify with in the RSVP (licensed medical professional, amateur radio operator, or bilingual/multilingual).
Orientations are only offered four times per year and are located in the Chinook Building, Room 123 (ground floor behind elevators), 401 5th Ave, Seattle 98104.
- Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm – Webinar Orientation
- Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
- Saturday, August 10, 2019 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
- Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/phrc