Disaster Preparedness

To provide respiratory therapists in Arkansas with the opportunity to become actively involved by volunteering with local, state, and federal emergency service organizations in the event of a natural or man- made disaster. It is not a question of if a disaster will occur, but when. It is our responsibility to be prepared and available when called upon.

From the established database, volunteers will be directed by state authorities to provide respiratory care services in the affected area(s) consistent with the scope of practice of the respiratory care profession. This may include, but not limited to, coordination, training, oxygen administration, mechanical ventilation, airway management, and other health related support services.


How do I Get Started?

We need your help! Are you needed? Most definitely! UAMS AHEC in conjunction with the Arkansas DHHS, FEMA, and Homeland Security is charged with developing and coordinating their respective Medical Reserve Corps. The goal is to have a coordinated medical response to disasters be it natural or man-made.  The MRC will set up an off-site medical facility to relieve the area hospital(s) in the affected area.

  1. You can start by registering with the US Surgeon General’s Medical Reserve Corps.
    This is a national website every state uses to establish teams of public health and medical professionals. There are currently 722 MRC units nationally with 148,958 volunteers.
  2. Once you are registered, you are encouraged to contact your area AHEC MRC Coordinator: Find Your Area Coordinator
    This link lists the 9 AHEC locations in Arkansas with the contact name and number of the Coordinators. Some MRC units are further along than others. This is your opportunity to assist your local MRC Coordinator by bringing respiratory care to the table. As a member of the Medical Reserve Corps, you can contribute on the community and state level.
    If you have a question about your state regional coordinator, you may contact Stacy Sayre, MRC National Region VI Coordinator for Arkansas at 214-767-3182.
  3. Register with the State of Arkansas
    An Arkansas, ESAR-VHP Registration website became operational in November, 2007. The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services (ADHHS) offers a secure web-based electronic registry of health professionals. The ESAR-VHP (pronounced "e-sar vip") is an acronym for Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals. The purpose of the ESAR-VHP program is to establish a national network of State-based programs to effectively facilitate the use of volunteers in local, territorial, state, and federal emergency responses.  Advance electronic registration of healthcare and support volunteers will allow pre-verification of personal information and professional credentials prior to a disaster.  This provides readiness as soon as a disaster strikes. ARVolunteerHealthProfessionals@arkansas.gov or call 501-661-2940 for additional information.

What about Training?

There are several online training courses available. Many courses are free and offer CEU’s.

The AMA Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response (CPHPDR) invites all interested members of the Medical Reserve Corps to take the newly released electronic Core Disaster Life Support™ (eCDLS™) course. The 4-hour course was developed with funding from the Department of Homeland Security and is offered at no charge.  Visit the AMA Web site for a description of all available courses.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers several National Incident Management System (NIMS) online training courses. The National Incident Management System provides a consistent nationwide template to establish Federal, State, tribal and local governments and private sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together effectively and efficiently to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism. 
Visit http://www.fema.gov/  These courses are also at no cost and offer CEU’s.

DHHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Preparedness and Response section offers excellent education and training opportunities. Formats range from video, satellite broadcasts, to online training courses. There is no cost associated with these courses. CEU’s are available.  http://www.bt.cdc.gov/training/

Public Health Foundation Offers TRAIN- www.train.org
What is TRAIN? The TrainingFinder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network, or TRAIN, is the nation’s premier learning resource for professionals who protect the public’s health. TRAIN is comprised of the national www.train.org site and participating TRAIN affiliate sites. Affiliate sites are managed by many state public health agencies, academic partners, and others. When completed, TRAIN will serve the majority of the U.S. public health workforce.
Because all TRAIN sites are connected, TRAIN users can access information about state, local, national, or international training available to them through any participating TRAIN site. Learners can use TRAIN to:

  • Search or browse the nationwide database for on-site or distance learning courses
  • Sign up for e-mails about new courses
  • Create a personal learning record of competency-based training
  • Provide and view feedback about courses listed on the site
  • Register online for many courses  

ASRC Disaster Preparedness Committee

Art Middleton, B.S., R.R.T., Chair

Kathy Boyle, M.Ed., M.S., R.R.T.

Joan Gauthreaux, B.S., R.R.T.

David Gibson, R.R.T., R.P.F.T.

Heather Neal-Rice, M.Ed., R.R.T.

Theresa Gramlich, M.S., R.R.T.

Disaster Preparedness Related Links


Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

Arkansas Department of Health

Department of Homeland Security


CDC Atlanta