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Emergency preparedness, volunteers crucial for community

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm

In the world today, it is always important to be prepared and educated on how to deal with any disaster or emergency. These threats happen to our society often, sometimes with a warning for hurricanes, flooding or tornadoes, but also some without a moments notice at all like earthquakes or terrorism. It is important that people know how to handle these situations, where emergency shelters are, what they would need to sustain themselves and their families until help can come and who can help.  The Three Rivers Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) not only serves to educate and prepare people for if these threats happen, but to help when they do. People can take comfort in knowing that the individuals working for and volunteering with this organization strongly believe in the value of what they do and work hard to provide dedicated and helpful service.

MRC volunteers often help with exercises at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital by playing victims.

MRC volunteers often help with exercises at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital by playing victims.

The Three Rivers MRC local unit has been traveling about giving informative presentations on emergency preparedness. This local unit provides support to the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, with 225 volunteers who have proper training, to aid in the organized response to an emergency or disaster.  Valerie Prince, coordinator of the Three Rivers Medical Reserve Corps, travels around the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and partners with local volunteers to educate communities. Of the volunteers, she said “they assist Three Rivers Health District and the Virginia Dept. of Health in the mass dispensing of antibiotics and support public health in an on-going basis. These volunteers serve as a district wide resource, augmenting, assisting and supporting existing medical and public health systems.” These volunteers work hard to make sure everyone has the tools and information to stay safe during an emergency. Recently, Prince and volunteer Kathryn Miller have given presentations to local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts on emergency preparedness and are scheduled to give another presentation at the Montross American Legion on April 7.

Many may not know that this community based, civilian, volunteer program is helping to build the public infrastructure of communities nationwide. Each of the MRC units organizes and trains to address a wide range of challenges from public health education to disaster response.

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program was created after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  While many medical and public health professionals sought to support emergency relief efforts, there was no organized way to channel their efforts.  The establishment of the MRC program provided and continues to provide the structure necessary to deploy medical and non-medical volunteers in response to an emergency, as it identifies specific, trained, credentialed personnel available and ready to respond to emergencies.