NH Emergency System for Advance Registration
of Healthcare Professionals (ESAR-VHP)
The New Hampshire ESAR-VHP System is an electronic database of health care personnel who have indicated their interest in volunteering to provide aid in an emergency. The ESAR-VHP System:
- registers health volunteers,
- applies emergency credentialing standards to registered volunteers, and
- allows for the verification of the identity, credentials, and qualifications of registered volunteers in an emergency.
Registered Volunteers are not required to respond to a request. Volunteers decide at the time of a request whether or not they can respond.
Become an ESAR-VHP volunteer
Importance of the ESAR-VHP Program
Experience has shown that, in an emergency, many of our nation’s health and medical providers are eager and willing to volunteer their professional health services. To meet the extraordinary demands of a large scale emergency, hospitals and other providers of healthcare will depend upon the services that health volunteers can provide. However, in a time of emergency, utilizing the capabilities of the nation’s health volunteers presents a major challenge to hospital, public health, and emergency authorities.
Immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of people spontaneously showed up at ground zero in New York City to volunteer their assistance. A large number of these volunteers arrived to provide medical assistance to the victims of the attacks. In most cases, authorities were unable to distinguish those that were qualified from those that were not qualified, though well intentioned. Additionally, because the response was unsolicited and there was no mechanism of coordination, those that presented themselves reduced the effectiveness of the overall response effort rather than helping.
"We had volunteers just show up – unsolicited, unneeded, not requested. To accommodate them we had to set up another city. We had to feed them and take care of sanitation and other things. But we just couldn’t use them." - Ed Jacoby, Jr., former Director of New York’s Emergency Management Office.
In addition to the experiences in New York City in September 2001, similar difficulties have occurred when the nation has had to respond to hurricanes, earthquakes, and other mass casualty events. The goal of the ESAR-VHP program is to eliminate a number of the significant problems encountered when seeking to utilize medical and healthcare volunteers in a complex emergency response situation.
The ESAR-VHP System is a National System Through State Coordination
The ESAR-VHP program is a State-based approach to establishing a national system. Every State independently develops, maintains, and operates, an ESAR-VHP System. This effort is being funded through a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response: The National Hospital Preparedness Program. This system for mutual assistance is developed through common definitions, standards, and protocols. In this way, the States’ ESAR-VHP Systems will form a critical network to facilitate the deployment of willing, needed, and qualified health volunteers for any emergency.
The ESAR-VHP Systems will be created in accordance with formal incident command and emergency protocols with proper authorities responsible for the coordination of health volunteers. Volunteer’s contact information may be shared with preparedness and response partners in NH.