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FAQs

What is the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry?

The Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR) is Wisconsin's initiative to pre-register, manage, and mobilize clinical and non-clinical volunteers to help in responding to all types of disasters. The volunteer management system is part of a nation-wide effort to make sure that volunteer professionals can be quickly identified and their credentials checked so that they can be properly utilized in response to a public health emergency or disaster. WEAVR is coordinated administratively by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Public Health Emergency Preparedness Section (PHEP). WEAVR is Wisconsin's Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP), part of a national initiative to form an interoperable emergency health volunteer network.

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What are the functions of WEAVR?

WEAVR collects and maintains information pertaining to health professional volunteers such as contact information, licensure, credentials, training history, response experience and skills. It also serves as the system for identifying, activating, and deploying volunteers during disasters. WEAVR also functions as a communication tool for providing volunteers with information about training and exercises.

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Why is WEAVR necessary?

Recent experience with large scale disasters has consistently shown that an effective response requires that volunteers be pre-credentialed and deployed through a coordinated effort. Well meaning but unaffiliated volunteers who spontaneously present to disaster sites are often unable to be assigned. With limited time and resources to process volunteers, often only those with known credentials are permitted access to the disaster response. By registering with WEAVR, you can be part of an alert system and respond, when activated, to a significant disaster or public health emergency. WEAVR serves to improve volunteer coordination during an emergency.

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Is my information safe?

Every possible step relating to data integrity and security is taken by the staff in order to prevent abuse and protect participants' privacy. Please review the Terms of Service which includes the Privacy Policy; contact us if you would like further information.

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Who will have access to my personal data?

You, your local volunteer program administrator, specified staff at the PHEP, and the vendor contracted to maintain the Site and its services will have access to the data. Anyone with access to the data will be trained in proper security and privacy procedures. Your information will be contained within a central, secure database administered by PHEP. Your information will ONLY be used to engage you in activities related to your local volunteer program or WEAVR, including recruitment for participation in a disaster drill or exercise, to provide you with program information or to request your assistance at the time of a large-scale disaster or public health emergency. PHEP will not sell or otherwise provide information to anyone else without your written consent.

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How often should I update my information?

We request that you update your information any time you have a change in status. In addition, we recommend that you check your profile and update as needed every six (6) months. Licensure information must be kept up to date or your volunteer participation may be limited. The volunteer database may contact you in the event of an emergency, so, it is important that you keep your contact information up to date in order to be contacted if needed.

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Should I join a local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in addition to registering with WEAVR?

Most emergencies occur locally and on a smaller scale. Therefore, it is important that local organizations have their own volunteer base. To be a volunteer locally for a particular MRC, you will need to sign up with that unit and register with WEAVR. Registering with WEAVR will allow you to indicate that you are registered as a volunteer locally. Registering locally will provide you opportunities to participate in additional training and exercises, and perform non-emergency volunteer roles locally.

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What is the Medical Reserve Corps?

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is part of a nationwide initiative to pre-register, manage, and mobilize volunteers to help their communities respond to all types of disasters. MRC units also help to foster disaster preparedness on a local level and serve as Ambassadors to the Office of the United States Surgeon General in the implementation of the Surgeon General's Health Initiatives. MRCs serve to unite local health professionals and other individuals with relevant health-related skills in their community. The structure of each MRC unit varies, depending on its own unique requirements and on the needs of the people and community that it serves and will aid the local, existing community emergency medical response systems. To obtain more information regarding a MRC program, or to locate a MRC unit in your area, you may access their website at https://mrc.hhs.gov.

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Who can volunteer?

Anyone can volunteer. PHEP is currently placing emphasis on the recruitment of licensed medical and healthcare volunteers that will satisfy clinical needs and provide surge capacity for public health emergencies. However, non-medical professionals who wish to volunteer for health-related missions are welcomed and are encouraged to register. There will be a need for volunteers with all types of skills and expertise, such as those who are skilled in: interpretation (languages and hearing impaired); administration; transportation training; provision of day care; security; computers; clerical work; data entry; and construction. PHEP values all volunteers, even if you have no specific qualifications other than the willingness to help. If you are a non-medical volunteer and wish to join a more general (not health-related) registry, please visit We Volunteer.

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What is required for participation?

You must first register with the program at https://weavrwi.org. Your local program administrator for your area may contact you about their expectations for participation. If and when activation becomes necessary, you will be contacted through the system and asked about your availability. All volunteers can accept or refuse a request for help. No matter what the extent of the need is, these are voluntary deployments and you are not required to participate. If you have questions about WEAVR, contact your local program administrator, or use the WEAVR website to contact us.

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Do I have to have any special training or expertise to volunteer?

Your local program administrator will contact you for training opportunities, or any requirements for participation. PHEP provides training to volunteers on a variety of emergency related topics via TRAIN Wisconsin. These trainings will be provided through volunteer symposia, live webcasts/broadcasts, local, area and state conferences, and printed or electronic materials. When you as a volunteer are asked to deploy, just-in-time training will be provided to prepare you with what can be expected, and what you need to know to help out and keep yourself safe.

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Under what conditions will I be contacted to provide emergency services?

You may be contacted if local, regional, state and/or interstate responder resources are not sufficient to meet the need for response and recovery efforts resulting from a natural or man-made emergency.

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Do volunteers only help in disaster time (during emergency situations)?

Although WEAVR members are needed to respond to disasters or emergencies, you may be asked to volunteer for a non-emergency event, such as local preparedness exercises. If you join a MRC you may be asked to volunteer for non-emergency public health community events as an Ambassador of the Office of the Surgeon General.

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How would I know if I was needed during a disaster?

Requests for volunteers will be sent through WEAVR via emails and text messages using the contact information that was entered into the system. In the event that you are contacted by the system, you will receive necessary information relative to the event. Therefore, please be sure that the information you give is accurate and up-to-date and any time you have a change in your information, please login and update the information. Additionally, DHS will post critical information in appropriate areas on its website during an event. MRC unit members will be contacted by their coordinator. In the event of a high level (urgent) alert to WEAVR members, an alerting system may be utilized that includes phone calls/messages.

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What if multiple programs contact me to volunteer during a crisis?

All volunteers have responsibilities that must be met before they can respond to a callout; whether it is your family, job, local MRC, local fire department, DMAT or other group or organization. You will need to decide for yourself what commitments you can make and what your preference is for deployment, which you will be able to designate in the system. Prior to accepting deployment, you should check with others and obtain any needed consent from your employer if deployment would interfere with your work schedule.

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I am a retired healthcare professional. Am I still eligible to register with DHS?

Absolutely! PHEP recognizes the value of retired medical personnel for their wealth of knowledge and experience. Retired healthcare professionals are more likely to be available during a public health emergency, as currently licensed and employed professional may be needed at their place of employment during a disaster.

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If I am not currently employed, but keep my license current. May I register?

Yes, for many of the same reasons as the person that is retired. Licensed healthcare professionals are needed and are strongly encouraged to register.

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I have an out-of-state license. Am I still eligible to join WEAVR?

Yes, out-of-state volunteers are accepted in the system. Currently, however, PHEP is only verifying in-state licenses. Due to the inability of PHEP to verify your medical license, you may be approved as a non-medical group member. If you are interested in joining a different state's registry, please visit ESAR-VHP. Recent disasters including the May 2011 Joplin, Missouri Tornado have shown that many well-meaning health professionals may sign up during a health emergency in the state where a disaster is taking place; due to the national nature of ESAR-VHP programs, we ask that you volunteer with the state registry where you work or reside. Out-of-state registries will be called for assistance if local resources are insufficient.

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How can I ensure that my particular talents/training/expertise will be utilized?

When you register, you will have the opportunity to enter information about your particular training, expertise, certifications, etc. At the time of deployment, this information will be considered by those coordinating the deployment. Efforts will be made to match skills with needs. You can help ensure the proper match by keeping the information about your own competencies and certifications up-to-date in the system. You can expect that you will be asked to perform tasks that are consistent with and not to exceed your level of licensure; sometimes healthcare professionals may be assigned to tasks that are less challenging than their usual professional activities, including non-medical and general tasks, during emergencies.

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Will I be able to or asked to volunteer in other counties and/or states?

Efforts will be made to schedule volunteers close to their communities when possible. You may be contacted when outside assistance is needed in other locations throughout Wisconsin during statewide emergencies. Volunteers may also be asked to assist in other states throughout the nation and during federal emergencies. Deployment will vary depending on the event and volunteers may decline to participate in any event. Volunteers who do accept an out of state or federal assignment may be asked to provide additional information in the registry. MRC unit members are generally deployed to their local jurisdiction; however they may be called upon for regional or statewide response efforts.

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Once I've registered, how should I prepare for deployment? What should I bring with me?

You will be provided a recommended deployment list prior to any deployment.

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What kind of credentials will I have to provide during a deployment?

All volunteers must provide valid government or employer issued photo identification. Those working in a professional capacity will also have to provide their current professional license.

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Are there any specific health concerns (e.g., vaccinations) that are required for me to participate in WEAVR?

No prior vaccinations are required for volunteers. However, in the event of certain emergencies (e.g., pandemic influenza, bioterrorism) where a medical countermeasure is available you may receive the countermeasure if needed. MRC unit members may be required to have certain vaccinations; please check with your unit coordinator.

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Will I have liability protection while I am volunteering?

Wisconsin law, "Chapter 257 Emergency Volunteer Health Care Practitioners" provides liability protection and workers compensation for volunteers under the following circumstances.

If a volunteer health care practitioner provides services for which the individual is licensed, certified, registered, or qualified, the practitioner will be indemnified and considered an employee of the state for worker's compensation purposes if all of the following apply:

  • The services are provided on behalf of a health care facility or mass clinic or at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or a local health department.
  • The practitioner is not compensated by the health care facility, mass clinic, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, or local health department (except for travel, lodging, or meals).
  • The practitioner is registered in the electronic system (known as "WEAVR") established by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or first registers in writing with the health care facility or mass clinic.
  • Reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct is not covered.
  • The services provided by the health care practitioner must occur during a state of emergency in the geographic area in which the state of emergency applies and on behalf of a health care facility or mass clinic, or at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or a local health department.

For non licensed volunteers, please see the information about Volunteer Liability in the State of Wisconsin.

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