The Berkshire Medical Reserve Corps (BMRC) exists to improve the health and safety of our communities and our region. The Unit is made up of medical and non-medical volunteers who are trained to respond to public health emergencies and disasters when activated by a local community leader or hospital. Members also participate in and conduct education and outreach events throughout the year that promote our mission of community health, emergency preparedness, and resiliency. There are many Ways We Can Help. The BMRC works closely with each of three regional emergency preparedness committees in Berkshire County, three regional hospitals, and the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association (BCBOHA). The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) serves as our fiscal agent. We collaborate with other organizations and create programs such as the Berkshire Disaster Animal Response Team (Berkshire DART) to ensure the most effective response capabilities during events where people and animals are impacted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I join?
The satisfaction of giving back. The urge to take action in your community. The desire to make a difference when you are needed most. The feeling you had, as you watched the scenes of Hurricane Katrina on TV, that you wanted to do something. The MRC will help you be right where you need to be during a disaster situation, applying your skills where they are needed most. We strive to support capable, prepared, and knowledgeable volunteers to ensure that the citizens of Berkshire County remain as healthy as possible in the face of a disaster.
Am I eligible?
Both medical professionals and dedicated residents are encouraged to join. Medical professionals include doctors, nurses, EMT’s, veterinarians, chiropractors, LPN’s, physicians’ assistants, mental health professionals, and many others in the health care field. If you do hold a medical license, that license will be verified to determine your ability to perform certain tasks during a disaster.
What about my family?
We recognize that during any disaster your family will be your first priority, so our volunteer training begins with family preparedness. If your family is not ready for a disaster, then you will not be able to leave them. With proper preparation and training, our volunteers and their families are ready for a disaster in Berkshire County.
Will I be trained?
All volunteers are asked to complete our MRC 101 course and chose from two levels of volunteerism. The Responder tier will complete this course and will become active only in the case of disaster. The Leadership tier of volunteers will complete several trainings, prepare for specific leadership roles in the case of disaster, and assist with MRC activities throughout the year.
Why is signing up now so important?
In previous national disasters, such as September 11th, 2001, and hurricane Katrina, the local public health infrastructure was overwhelmed and needed help. Volunteers arriving at the incident site, without being trained, without known credentials or without being affiliated with an organization, often hurt instead of help recovery efforts despite their best intentions. Through hard lessons learned, we now know counties experiencing a disaster situation need pre-credentialed, screened and trained medical professionals. The MRC meets these needs by providing an organized, rapid response of volunteers in a disaster.
Can I self deploy?
No. Volunteers must wait for an email, fax or phone call from the Berkshire MRC before deploying to the site. This allows responders to better control the incident scene, allows us to communicate important messages to better prepare each volunteer for service, and allows us to track all volunteers at the scene so that the response can be safe for everyone. If you are present when an incident occurs and want to assist those affected, you would be acting as an individual, and not as a representative of the Berkshire MRC.