Friday, October 20, 2006
Carlisle creates local Medical Reserve Corps
Community spirit was alive and well in Carlisle Wednesday, October 11, when over 30 residents ventured out on a rainy night to attend an informational meeting about volunteering for the recently formed Carlisle Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). By the end of the evening, about 20 people had filled out applications to join the MRC and help their community in the case of a natural disaster, a public health emergency or some other catastrophic event.
Selectman Doug Stevenson spoke first on the importance of local emergency personnel in Carlisle, noting that the MRC is similar to the volunteer Carlisle Fire Department in that "friends and neighbors help friends and neighbors." He said that one of the many lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina is that if a catastrophe is affecting many towns, we cannot count on outside help to come to Carlisle.
"We need a local response," agreed regional MRC coordinator Lisa Jackson. "We work with Carlisle fire, police and emergency personnel. We can't wait for FEMA."
Both medical professionals and unskilled volunteers needed
While the MRC seeks out and accepts many kinds of medical professionals, non-medical volunteers are also in great demand. Some non-medical services needed are food service, child care, computers, administration, finance and transportation. Volunteers could be needed to help with parking, child care for other volunteers, driving, communication, and clerical work.
Carlisle joins 33 other towns in Region 4A, which at 1,800 volunteers is one of the largest in the country. MRC volunteers can attend training sessions and classes offered free of charge throughout region 4A and on line. Training includes classes on Avian Flu, family preparedness, CPR, weapons of mass destruction, basic first aid, disaster psychology, behavioral health, shelter operations and more. MRC and CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team) representative Frank deAlderete told the group that Carlisle's MRC volunteers are invited to a "shelter drill" in Concord this November which will provide a training opportunity for community support during a severe winter storm.
One goal of the MRC is to help during natural disasters like floods, fires, hurricanes or tornadoes. Volunteers also might help victims at a large-scale accident site such as plane crash. Public health emergencies may also benefit from the services of MRC volunteers, who might assist in administering a town-wide vaccine during a flu pandemic or screening school children during an infectious disease outbreak. The MRC can also help out in non-emergency events, such as senior flu clinics.
Carlisle Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Dave Flannery thanked attendees for coming and reminded them that Carlisle's on-call fire department has proven for 80 years that "you can help." He added that when volunteers are called to help, they can answer "yes" or "no." Depending on the circumstances, an individual volunteer might be needed more at home or at work.
MRC volunteers will work under the Carlisle Board of Health (BOH). Representing the BOH Wednesday were Health Agent Linda Fastasia, Administrative Assistant Mary deAlderete and Board members Bill Risso and Leslie Cahill. The Board hopes that by the end of the second informational meeting on October 18 the Carlisle Medical Reserve Corps will be closer to its goal of 50 volunteers.
© 2006 The