Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)?

The Brookline Medical Reserve Corps is a volunteer group comprised of Brookline residents who have volunteered to help the Brookline Health Department in the event of an emergency, and to help with local public health needs throughout the year.

Do I have to have medical skills to volunteer in the MRC?

No.  While volunteer healthcare professionals are needed, the Brookline MRC needs volunteers with a wide variety of skills.  The only requirement is willingness to give your time to benefit our community.

What type of training are offered to volunteers?

All volunteers are encouraged to attend Brookline Medical Reserve Corps trainings offered during the year.  Past trainings include:  Avian Flu and Pandemic Planning; Emergency Dispensing Site Information; CPR, First Aid, and AED; Behavioral Health and Disasters; Animal Related Disease that also Affect Humans; The MAssachusetts Health and Homeland Alert Netwok (HHAN); Smallpox Information; and The Incident Command System.

Is there a cost to the volunteer for these trainings?

No.  Most trainings are provided by the Brookline MRC at no cost to the volunteer.  Volunteers may be able to earn CMEs (Continuing Medical Education) or CEUs (Continuing Education Units) by attending our trainings.

Will I be paid for my services?

No.  MRC volunteers give their time to benefit the community.

May I volunteer if I now work within the local healthcare or emergency response system?

Yes.  It is understood that some MRC volunteers may have other responsibilities in the event of an emergency.  While you may not be available for all emergency activation, not all emergencies will affect that agency for which you work.  You may wish to participate in non-emergency MRC activities such as assisting with training volunteers, flu clinics, and community education programs.

May I volunteer if my license or certification has expired?

Yes.  While this may limit you from performing services for which you were previously licensed or certified, you can still make a meaningful contribution to the MRC.  For example, your knowledge and experience could be put to good use training other volunteers and educating the community.

What might I do as an MRC volunteer?

MRC volunteers may be called upon to assist during natural disasters (hurricanes), terrorism or infectious disease outbreaks. Depending upon a person’s level of skill a volunteer may be asked to deliver medical care, dispense medications, provide language interpretation services, offer administrative support, greet residents or other functions as may be needed. MRC volunteers may also assist with Health Department activities throughout the year at health fairs, conducting health education or assisting with flu clinics.

Will there be any travel involved as a volunteer of the MRC?

The Brookline MRC is a community-based organization that was created for the benefit of Brookline and will act locally. The Brookline MRC is also part of a Department of Public Health Region 4b, and if you wish you may indicate on your application that you would like to be contacted if an emergency arises in one of the other 26 communities in Region 4b, with which we are partnering. The opportunity may also arise to travel to assist other more distant communities when their resources become overwhelmed, including Cape Cod or Western MA.  Keep in mind, the choice to respond rests solely with the volunteer, and is never required.

I’ve heard of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  How do these two volunteer organizations differ?  Can you apply to one/both?

Brookline activates both MRC and CERT during disasters. Both volunteer organizations train, work, and respond together; you may become a member of both groups. During an activation (emergency response) MRC will lead in public health related activities, while CERT will lead in mass care and sheltering events. While one team leads, the other assists. If you would like more information about CERT please visit their website here. To learn more about the similarities and differences, please view our annual events.

What if I have more questions?

Contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the Brookline Health Department, 617-730-2656 or You may also fill out the contact us form located here.

How do I apply to become a member of the Brookline MRC?

To volunteer with the Brookline Medical Reserve Corps, submit your application via the MA Responds Volunteer Management System.  MA Responds “…is a secure, online sysem that helps MRC staff manage the needs of the MRC,including volunteer screening, badging, training, and deploying.”