Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has declared April “Emergency Preparedness Month” for Dutchess residents. The County Executive will participate in a series of events throughout April to highlight the importance being aware and being prepared in case of an emergency in Dutchess County.
“We need many more people to volunteer in our efforts 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.
At a press conference in mid-March County Executive William R. Steinhaus made a plea to the County’s citizens to join Dutchess County’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), an initiative authored by the County Executive in 2002.
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 needs in a disaster. “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,” said the County Executive.
“I decided to launch an awareness campaign in early Spring to try to get people motivated so we can achieve our numbers in getting the 1,800 volunteers we require for a full Reserve Corps, said Steinhaus. “I am concerned there is some complacency and a little bit of a false sense of security that everything is ok,” he added. “We have to plan for an event that will happen instead of thinking it probably won’t. I look forward to being a part of a series of events this April that will bring this issue to the forefront and I hope the media will follow to create the awareness,” Steinhaus concluded.
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.
The first series of training and a general orientation for MRC volunteers is being planned for April. If you are interested in volunteering for Dutchess County’s Medical Reserve Corps, please contact: Angela Skretta-Huck, Director, Emergency Preparedness Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association & Health Care Foundation at Phone: 845/562-7520 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.