Experiences such as 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis have shown that many of our nation’s medical professionals are willing to volunteer their services when a large-scale disaster occurs. During these times of extraordinary demand, hospitals and other health care providers need to depend upon the services that health volunteers can provide. However, utilizing these volunteers presents a major challenge to hospital, public health and emergency authorities. The federal Emergency System for the Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) was created to help eliminate problems encountered in utilizing medical and health care volunteers in complex emergency situations.
The ESAR-VHP program has awarded each state funding to create local systems for the advanced registration of medical and health care volunteers. Operating under the auspices of the South Dakota Department of Health, the Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers in South Dakota (SERV SD) coordinates the pre-registration of medical and health care professionals who may be willing to volunteer in the event of an emergency. The goal is to register qualified individuals, verify their respective credentials, and provide education and training in the area of disaster response. SERV SD will also create a database of medical and health care volunteers who can be mobilized immediately in response to an emergency.
For additional information regarding the program or registration process, you may contact Andy Klitzke.