Medical Reserve Corps Units Join Preparedness Month Efforts

Dora-assistLike many organizations, the volunteers of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) are taking action in their communities during National Preparedness Month. The MRC is a national group of local volunteers whose mission is to improve the health, safety, and resiliency of their communities. A huge part of that mission, is to make the counties and cities they serve more prepared for any emergency or disaster. They are often engrained in their local health department, working alongside their employees to build a more robust workforce for any event.

The idea for a national volunteer corps emerged out of the tragic events of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While thousands of medical and public health professional volunteers wanted to assist recovery efforts, local responders were overwhelmed and didn’t have a way to identify or manage them. As a result, the MRC was created to serve in the event of another man-made or national disaster, but also to strengthen public health.

The MRC promotes preparedness every day, but during National Preparedness Month, they go above and beyond to hold training exercises, form invaluable community partnerships, and communicate to their neighbors the necessity of family preparedness. MRC unit leaders from across the country shared their Preparedness Month activities using the MRC Connect app.

  • The Navajo County MRC (AZ) and the North Shore Cape Ann MRC (MA) are both working with local schools, churches, and community groups to promote family preparedness. These partnerships are an integral part of increasing a community’s health security.
  • The Tulalip Tribes MRC (WA) is hosting two preparedness planning meetings and a major tabletop exercise in late September. The overarching theme of each meeting is “Don’t Wait. Communication. Make your Emergency Plan Today.”
  • New Jersey’s Morris County MRC is participating an extensive preparedness exercise that includes practice scenarios for mass casualties, hostage situations, and HazMat entry.
  • Several units, including the Morris County MRC and the Contra Costa MRC (CA), held cooking classes or demonstrations using the Recipes for Disaster Cookbook. The cookbook features recipes using nonperishable items that don’t require electricity.
  • The Uncas Health District MRC’s unit leader (CT) is presenting to the local Chamber of Commerce on why businesses should be prepared and how the local MRC can build resilience within the community.
  • California’s Riverside County MRC is partnering with the area’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to distribute emergency blankets, duct tape, and other emergency preparedness materials at a preparedness event. They are also teaching CPR to event attendees.

NACCHO is hosting a National Preparedness Month Pledge to encourage local health departments and volunteer groups to commit to increasing community preparedness during September. Several MRC units have already taken the NACCHO pledge and many others are working with their local health departments to increase their community’s capacity to respond and recover from emergency events. To learn more about the Medical Reserve Corps and their commitment to improving the nation’s public health, visit their website.

Additional Preparedness Month resources can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Emergency Management Agency websites.

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