MRC, DHEC, SCHEART, and Ham Operators

The Medical Reserve Corps (also known as PHRC…Public Health Reserve Corps) was an indirect result of 9-11. Volunteers were sorely needed after 9-11 and the MRC was developed as a resource of volunteers from the general public to help in emergencies. The MRC utilizes volunteers from all walks of life…not only in the medical field. The following quote is from the Wikipedia article on MRC: “Members include doctors, nurses, mental health counselors, health educators, and other medically trained people, as well as people without medical training, including administrators, chaplains, drivers, interpreters, logistics specialists, radio operators, trainers, etc. Members receive free training in emergency response, and decide how many hours they are willing to volunteer each year.”

SCHEART is the South Carolina Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio Team. As you know SCHEART has linkable repeaters all across South Carolina and supports a statewide Healthcare Net on Thursday mornings. The net purpose is to train ham operators to work with hospitals and healthcare facilities so that they would be ready to assist the facilities in time of emergency. Operators go to the facilities and check into the net using onsite ham radio equipment. This is so the facility’s ham equipment can be checked regularly for functionality. MRC
trained ham operators fit perfectly into this spot. That is why on the Thursday nets the net control wants to know who is an MRC member.

Ham radio operators are especially welcomed as MRC members because of their radio training and capabilities. Ham operators are often used in communication roles but often as not they are asked to help out in non communication positions. Hams may be asked to help registering folks into a flu shot Point of Dispensing (POD) or hams may be asked to transport materials from one part of the state to another. There are many many ways a non medical person can be used to help in a crisis.

In South Carolina the MRC (or PHRC) is coordinated by DHEC. Each of the four DHEC regions has its own Volunteer Coordinator who registers volunteers and coordinates their efforts to meet the needs of the community. There is some free online training required of volunteers but it is not required to be done before joining. You can volunteer while you learn. Listed below are the volunteer coordinators for each DHEC region.

Pee Dee Jenny Latour KN4IMD 803-934-289

Midlands Scott Phillips KK4TFN 803-576-2694

Upstate Joanne Hobbick KJ4MEU 864-372-3127

Lowcountry Stefanie Roy 843-953-0052

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