Poughkeepsie, NY... Commending the many citizens who have volunteered for the Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County, County Executive William R. Steinhaus made a plea many more of the County’s citizens to join them in volunteering for the MRC. “We need many more people in order to effectively help protect and serve the people of Dutchess County if an infectious disease breaks out that requires mass distribution of antibiotics or vaccinations,” County Executive Steinhaus explained.
Recently recognized by the Office of the Surgeon General and the US Public Health Service as a ‘pioneer’ in emergency preparedness, “the Dutchess County MRC is one product of the county’s integrated emergency response plan, a multi-organizational plan that addresses the many facets of human need in disaster,” Steinhaus said. “In the aftermath of September 11th, and with our close proximity to New York City and the large number of residents who commute to work in Westchester and New York, we must prepare for the worst.”
The MRC project is led by the Northern Metropolitan Health Care Foundation, with the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, the Dutchess County Department of Health, the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene, Northern Dutchess Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, the Hudson Valley VA Health Care System, and the American Red Cross serving as founding partners. The mission of the MRC is to assist existing medical response organizations and professionals in response to a large-scale disaster of any kind.
While the MRC seeks licensed medical and mental health professionals, others who provide non-medical skills are needed as well. Those other skills range from driving and childcare, to data entry, HAM radio operators, and translators.
“Collaborative emergency planning is the only way to effectively prepare,” said Arthur E. Weintraub, President of NorMet, the agency that secured the 3-year $150,000 grant, and directs development of the MRC. Collaboration fosters shared knowledge and priorities that put community needs over the individual needs of any one organization or department, Weintraub explained.
Although all MRC volunteers must commit to a minimum of 2 hours training, additional courses will be offered that are tailored to the specific skills of volunteers. For example, on April 7, MRC volunteers who bring experience in providing direct care for people with disabilities will be offered the opportunity to participate in a 5-hour session at Anderson School in Staatsburg, New York. Licensed mental health professionals who volunteer for the MRC will be invited to an April 15 day-long training in P-FLASH (Practical Front Line Assistance for Support and Healing) at the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie.
General orientation for MRC volunteers is being planned for April. If you are interested in volunteering for the Medical Reserve Corps, please contact:
Angela Skretta-Huck, Director, Emergency Preparedness
Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association & Health Care Foundation
Phone: 845/562-7520 or email@example.com