Public health officials are seeking volunteers who are interested in helping their communities become better prepared to cope with emergencies and disasters.


Public health officials are seeking volunteers who are interested in helping their communities become better prepared to cope with emergencies and disasters.


An organizational meeting of Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps-Carter County is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Carter County Health Department, 405 S. Washington St. in Ardmore.


Cindy Baker, a spokesperson for the county health department, said the goal is to create an organized system for volunteering during large-scale emergencies and to promote local public health initiatives.


“The MRC will be able to fill manpower shortages in the case of disasters like the Lone Grove tornado,” Baker said.


The MRC is designed to bring together practicing and retired health care professionals from a diversity of fields, including physicians, nurses, hospital and public health workers, mental health experts, communication operators and other medical professions.


Baker said they are also looking for volunteers who do not have medical backgrounds. The volunteers without health care backgrounds will assist medical team members in a number of critical, non-technical areas. The local corps teams are designed to supplement existing “first responder” emergency systems.


“Eventually, every county health department will have a chapter,” Baker said. “For now, the Carter County MRC will serve Carter, Love, Johnston and Jefferson counties.”


Locally-based MRC volunteers will be on call to assist during large-scale emergencies, such as an influenza epidemic, an act of terrorism or a natural disaster. They also can be called upon to help in public health initiatives throughout the year and offer education and prevention services.


Baker said all volunteers will be subject to Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation background checks.