September 25, 2007
Press release for the Public Health District
Albany -- During September, National Emergency Preparedness, Southwest District Public Health is renewing its call for volunteers.
"We are looking for a few good men and women to be public health volunteers - specifically Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers," said Emergency Preparedness Specialist Travis Donnelly.
The Southwest Georgia Regional MRC is a unit of the Citizens Corps of Dougherty and Lee counties. It partners with two Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in Lee and Dougherty counties and a Lee County Fire Corps, he said.
"This volunteer group focuses on community preparedness, health and safety. It is one of less than 20 such groups in the state, and it is the only one in the southern portion of Georgia," Donnelly said. "The Southwest Public Health District houses the local MRC."
Volunteers need not have a medical degree or healthcare experience to join. "We are actively seeking members from all disciplines," he said. "The only criteria is that you are interested in volunteering in support of your country and that you want to assist friends and neighbors through community service."
The establishment of an MRC in Southwest Georgia offers many benefits to residents, added Southwest District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. "It bolsters public health and emergency response infrastructures by providing supplemental personnel. With fewer resources available to healthcare and emergency response providers not just here, but everywhere, volunteers like those with the MRCs are increasingly important."
Volunteers may be called upon for a variety of health and preparedness activities, such as assisting county health departments with supplemental personnel at times of crisis, training with emergency responders, coordinating with or sharing information with partner organizations, helping in emergency shelters and assisting with dispensing pharmaceutical and other supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile in the event of an influenza pandemic or other public health emergency.
"Medical Reserve Corps volunteers could be instrumental in supporting friends and neighbors during a pandemic flu outbreak," Donnelly said. "In addition, MRC volunteers can choose to support communities in need nationwide. More than 30 MRC units worked for two months in the Gulf Coast region in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, for example."
To find out more, call Donnelly at 229-430-1978, or go online to the district web site at www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org. A volunteer registration form is available online at the web site.
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