Be safe, be prepared: emergency system for advance registration of volunteer health professionals in disaster response

Online J Issues Nurs. 2006 Sep 30;11(3):3.


Following the September 11, 2001, incident in the United States (US) and subsequent natural disasters, the US, like other countries, has focused on improving its overall disaster response capabilities. One mechanism that is under development to improve the country's surge capacity, i.e., its ability to substantially increase the number of volunteer health care professionals available to respond during a disaster, is the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP). Registries, like ESAR-VHP, are significant tools for disaster planning and deployment. The goal of ESAR-VHP is to create a state-based registry of volunteer health professionals, verify their credentials prior to a disaster, and provide opportunities for education and training in disaster response. Each of these steps is necessary in ensuring access to patient services during an emergency, while also providing for the safety of the volunteer health professional. This article speaks to the registered nurse as a volunteer acting within these types of registries. Specifically, it addresses the development of a personal and professional response plan, and registration programs that provide the preparation needed to enable a nurse responder to work effectively within a disaster response team and facilitate preregistration with one and only one registry. The legal implications of responding are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning / methods*
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Human Experimentation*
  • Humans
  • Nurses / organization & administration
  • Registries*
  • United States