NH Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP)

The New Hampshire ESAR-VHP system is an electronic database of health and general volunteers who have indicated their interest in responding in an emergency. The ESAR-VHP system:

  1. Registers health and general volunteers,
  2. Applies emergency credentialing standards to registered volunteers, and
  3. 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.

Faced with a natural disaster, pandemic event, or large-scale emergency, it is essential that New Hampshire be prepared to respond.  Having enough health and general volunteers available to those in need of assistance is a top priority.

Emergencies and Natural Disasters Can Happen Anywhere…at Any Time. Ask Us How You Can Help

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 services. To meet the extraordinary demands of a large scale emergency, hospitals, other providers of healthcare and other services, will depend upon the assistance that dedicated volunteers can provide. However, in a time of emergency, utilizing the capabilities of the nation’s volunteers presents a major challenge to hospital, public health, and other emergency authorities.

Immediately following 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, health, and other 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.  This system will form a critical network to facilitate the deployment of willing, needed, and qualified volunteers for any emergency.

The ESAR-VHP system was created in accordance with formal incident command and emergency protocols with proper authorities responsible for the coordination of volunteers.

For more information contact:

Adnela Alic

ESAR-VHP/NH Responds Coordinator

NH Department of Health and Human Services

(603) 271-9475

(800) 852-3345 ext 9475