City Service

Help Respond to Emergency

Illinois Helps is the Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) for the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. 

Illinois Helps is a secure web based system used to register, verify and credential volunteer healthcare professionals BEFORE disaster or public health emergency occurs.

Illinois Helps is a database for ALL health care professionals. This includes independent practitioners, inactive or retired health care professions with an active license, students enrolled in a health-related curriculum, non-medical and administrative volunteers.

Pre-registration in the Illinois Helps database helps make the system more robust and effective in the event of a disaster or other public emergency.

How does Illinois Helps work?

Once you have registered to become a volunteer, if you are a licensed health care profession, your professional credentials will be verified. Your information will become part of the statewide secure database.

Illinois Helps may only be activated by the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health or the Director of Illinois Department of Public Health or their designees in the event of an emergency.

Upon activation, an alert message will be sent to Illinois Helps volunteers depending on the size, type, location and specific needs of the incident – asking those available to respond and giving specific instructions on where to report and what is needed.

Volunteers always retain the right to decline participation for any reason. Once volunteers agree to respond to a request, their information is forwarded to the appropriate response organization.

You can register to volunteer at:

Download the brochure here

For more information about Illinois Helps visit or e-mail

Department Main Office

Public Health