WOOD RIVER — Madison County Health Department will host a volunteer orientation training Monday, March 23. There is an opportunity for everyone to help and no medical experience is necessary.
When emergencies happen, families and neighbors must join together to meet whatever challenges their community will face. Preparing for the public health consequences of disasters in advance leads to enhanced resiliency in the days, weeks, and months afterward. The health department takes its responsibility to protect its citizens seriously, especially during a disaster affecting the public’s health. But the health department recognizes it needs help from the public; that is why the health department continues to build its volunteer Medical Reserve Corps.
The health department works to prepare for disasters that could affect the public’s health, especially in the area of infectious disease. In a large-scale disaster where the potential for disease exists, additional trained volunteers will be needed to help existing health department staff get antibiotics or vaccines to the public who are affected or most at risk. Since Nov. 3, 2005, the health department has been recruiting volunteers for its Medical Reserve Corps unit. “Our goal is to have well-trained volunteers functioning effectively under the Incident Command System in order to maximize community health during a public health emergency,” Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator Debra Tscheschlok said. “Volunteers do not have to have a medical background because we need individuals to fill non-medical positions as well as those licensed to administer medications. Volunteer orientation training is the first step toward meeting this goal.”
The health department encourages residents to be better prepared and invites community members to join them in this effort. One opportunity to get involved is to become a volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteers do not need have to have any medical background. The department is seeking people 18 and older with a variety of backgrounds and interests to join the corps.
The corps will hold a volunteer orientation training session from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, at the Madison County Health Department, 101 E. Edwardsville Road, Wood River. Volunteers will learn about the Madison County MRC, Public Health 101, Incident Command System, strategic national stockpile and family preparedness. To attend, contact Madison County Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer Coordinator Cathy Paone at (618) 296-6096 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Advanced registration is required to attend the training. Seating is limited. Registration deadline is Monday, March 16.
The corps is part of the Gateway Volunteer Network in the bi-state area. It is a collaborative effort to bring volunteers together into one group to increase communication and build a stronger network of volunteers. Visit www.facebook.com/gatewayvolunteernetwork for information and click on the Learn More Save Lives tab to sign up for information about volunteer opportunities.
For information about the Madison County Medical Reserve Corps, visit www.madisonchd.org/medical-reserve-corps.shtml. To stay up to date on public health, join the health department on social media: Facebook, www.facebook.com/MadisonCHD and www.facebook.com/gatewayvolunteernetwork; Twitter, @MadisonCHD; and YouTube, www.youtube.com/MadCoHealth.