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Empower and engage citizens in forming a volunteer network to enhance emergency preparedness and community health in the Wildcat Region (Fort Riley, Geary County, Pottawatomie County, and Riley County), which is integrated into established community emergency systems to facilitate a coordinated approach to volunteer management Goals: Identify, credential, train, and prepare volunteers before an emergency or disaster Respond to medical emergencies that threaten the community’s health Respond to disasters that cause injury or threats to the public Provide mental health support for the community during disaster and recovery Support regional public health efforts by providing volunteer opportunities during non-emergencies
Following the events of September 11, 2001, it became clear that there was no method for coordinating the services of thousands of well-meaning volunteers who showed up at disaster scenes wanting to help. There was no mechanism for checking credentials and assigning volunteers where they could do the most good, and no pre-planning to ensure their safety. These volunteers had not been trained to work effectively as a team while interacting with other agencies at the scene. In fact, the presence of unidentified care providers created numerous problems that put trained rescuers at risk.
The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General (OSG) announced the formation of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program in 2002. The overall goal of the national initiative is to establish teams of local volunteer medical professionals and laypersons to contribute their skills and expertise during times of community need, such as an influenza pandemic, a chemical spill or an act of terrorism. Volunteers also provide community health education and outreach throughout the year.
- Julie Hettinger
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