GENESEO — Livingston County Administrator Ian M. Coyle and Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriguez announced Tuesday they are implementing a major recruitment drive for the Livingston County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a program that allows residents to help the County prepare for and assist with disasters and other public health related events.

Following many disasters, large numbers of people often come forward to help. Many of those well-meaning volunteers are turned away because without special training, or a management structure to guide them, their presence at an emergency scene can be unsafe for volunteers and for public health and safety personnel responding to the incident.

The Livingston County MRC, a program coordinated by the Livingston County Department of Health, is designed to leverage the good will and desire to help that many people display in the wake of a disaster. It offers both medical and non-medical volunteers a chance to be part of a network of people who are trained and ready to respond to various incidents in Livingston County.

The Livingston County MRC is part of a national program developed to help local communities organize for an emergency. Large-scale natural or man-made disasters have the potential to overwhelm a community. These emergencies are often too large for local government agencies to handle alone, and often require assistance from state and federal agencies -- assistance which can be delayed in the first hours of a disaster.

Through the Livingston County MRC, volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentist and EMTs, learn how to assist in the response to a disaster affecting Livingston County. People without medical training are also encouraged to join the Livingston County MRC, as their non-medical skills are also critical during a response. Volunteers are provided valuable training free of charge, and learn how to prepare themselves and their families during an emergency.

"I want everyone in Livingston County to consider joining the Livingston County Medical Reserve Corps; people in our medical, health and business communities, our residents, our college students, retirees - anyone who wants to help," said Coyle in announcing the recruitment drive. "We're looking for everyday heroes to help make Livingston County safer and more prepared."

Joining the program is quick and easy, and volunteers receive free training - including an on-line course developed in partnership with the Harvard's Center for Public Health Preparedness. Please call (585) 243-7299 for more information.