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Blueprint for the Use of Volunteers in Hospitals and Rural Medical Centers


Target audience: hospitals, medical centers, local public health agencies, and volunteer organizations, especially in rural jurisdictions. Contents include: training in ESF8 coordination; HSEEP-compliant training and exercise guidance; an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) template; volunteer policies and procedures, just-in-time training, check-in procedures, and volunteer job action sheets, etc., which guide the integration of volunteers into hospital surge-response; and a planning guide which provides the directions for implementing the entire toolkit.

The potential outcomes from the product are: 1) Communities will develop a local committee that coordinates emergency preparedness and response planning efforts among the communities' stakeholders. 2) HSEEP-compliant training and exercise program will be created. The program will develop a jurisdiction's target capabilities and make the most use of limited resources. 3) The hospital, volunteer organization, and local public health agency are prepared to use volunteers in surge and agree on how to integrate them into hospital operations. 4) The local hospital or medical center will have a Joint Commission-compliant EOP that is up-to-date.

This product was evaluated using quality improvement methods such as:  Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles; participant feedback evaluations during trainings/exercises/workshops/presentations; HSEEP-compliant documentation using After Action Reports/Improvement Plans to develop the framework for subsequent exercises and trainings.  Many of the HSEEP tools were refined by the Mesa County ESF8 committee and regional public health partners in Western Colorado.  Pilot testing was conducted with a "community" in Parker,CO.

Primary Toolkit:

APC Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Advanced Practice Centers, After Action Reports, All-Hazards, Incident Command System, MRC, NIMS, Rural, Surge Capacity, Volunteer, Workforce Competency


Institutional Author:

Mesa County Advanced Practice Center





The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.