Roll Up Your Sleeves and ServNY

Volunteers Critical for Emergency Response

There was lots of rain and flooding in April. Luckily the state's emergency preparedness professionals had more than 6,000 volunteers to back them up if needed.

ServNY logo

By its very nature, a disaster often overwhelms a community's ability to quickly provide appropriate care to victims. Often, volunteers are needed to extend the community capacity, including the capacity of hospitals, to respond to a disaster.

In the case of volunteers who provide medical or mental health care, it's essential they have the proper credentials and skills to treat people affected by the emergency.

The ServNY volunteer management system, administered by the department's Office of Health Emergency Preparedness (OHEP), is a Web-based registry of individuals who make themselves available to assist on behalf of New York State during an emergency. Currently 6,546 people have volunteered to help when needed.

Health Care Professionals Needed

Licensed health care professionals willing to respond to a disaster—either locally, statewide, or across the nation—are strongly encouraged to register with ServNY.

Registering before the need arises is important, as credentials are verified upon registration and periodically thereafter. This helps to ensure that when a community needs extra hands, those hands are qualified to provide the appropriate care.

When volunteers are needed, ServNY will automatically notify potential volunteers via phone or e-mail with the information necessary for a volunteer to determine if they are ready and available for the assignment.

Established after 9/11

OHEP developed the ServNY volunteer registry in partnership with county health departments, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Medical Society of the State of New York, hospital associations, and other medical professional organizations.

The registry, established in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is currently used by all local health departments and Medical Reserve Corps for management of volunteer programs.

Registration in ServNY is open to any health care or mental health professional, as well as laypersons who are willing to serve in administrative or support roles during public health emergencies. To learn more and to register, go to www.health.ny.gov/ServNY.