When a natural disaster occurs, such as an earthquake or hurricane, the need for experienced medical help increases greatly. This is especially true for victims in foreign nations where access to hospitals or medical attention is not as easy to come by. For those with a background in medical care, volunteering to help during a crisis provides an invaluable service that may help to save lives. If you work in the medical field and are interested in volunteering during a disaster, here is what you need to know.
Depending on the location of the disaster, you should be in good physical shape in order to hike up steep mountainsides or be able to cope with extreme temperature changes. You will also be expected to be able to leave at a moment's notice, so those with an open, flexible schedule are usually called upon to help first since they can arrive to the location of the disaster sooner. Most medical volunteers should be prepared to stay in a group setting with shared accommodations like tents and be ready to eat basic foods with little time for breaks. There are also long hours working in unstable conditions, so volunteers must be able to handle the workload and the less than ideal environment.
While not everyone has to be a professional surgeon to volunteer to help provide medical care, they should at least have a background in providing some kind of triage patient assistance. All volunteers must have current immunizations including Hepatitis A & B, malaria/yellow fever, and typhoid vaccinations. Some volunteers will need to provide proof of their current certifications in order to be authorized to provide medical care like a practitioner's or nursing license. This requirement is put in place to ensure that all victims are being treated by people who have a working knowledge of a variety of medical problems related to emergencies.
If you currently work in the medical field and are interested in assisting with disaster care, there are several ways you can sign up. Talk to your employer about getting on a list of potential volunteers, or join a local team of volunteers that is already established. When a problem occurs, you will then be placed on an on-call list to be contacted for help. There are also plenty of non-profit organizations who are always grateful to have volunteers join their cause and you can sign up through the organization to be added to their staff list of volunteers. Thanks to the brave medical professionals who choose to help others, many lives are saved each year after a natural disaster has hit. Contact a company like Twin Lakes Hospice Inc for more information.