Emergency Preparedness Overview
Making sure the public is safe and ready for an emergency is a priority of the Clinton County Health Department. The Clinton County Health Department has an Emergency Preparedness Program and oversees the Emergency Public Health Preparedness activities, Cities Readiness Initiative and the Medical Reserve Corp. The Program works closely with community partners to address and prepare for emergency preparedness. There are over 150 volunteers who work with the program that contributed over 800 hours that equates to over $18,000 worth of time.
South Central Illinois Medical Reserve Corps (SCIMRC)
You never know when a disaster may hit our community. Join the SCIMRC to receive training and learn what you and your family can do to get prepared and involved. You don’t have to have a medical background to volunteer your time or make a difference in someone’s life. If ever you’ve thought about sharing your talents or everyday work skills in an emergency, print out an online application, stop by our office, or call us today for more information.
“Volunteers building strong, healthy and prepared communities”
In response to the Sep 11, 2001 attacks, many medical professionals and other citizens offered their skills to a community in need. This outpouring of compassion and service highlighted the need to provide a more organized structure and approach for using volunteers in an emergency.
Pres. George W. Bush issued the call in his State of the Union Address of Jan, 2002, for all Americans to “offer meaningful volunteer service in their communities, in whatever ways they could.” As a result, the President’s USA Freedom Corps was launched to promote volunteerism both nationally and around the world. (medicalreservecorps.org)
With the approval of Congress, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy G. Thompson, began a demonstration project in the US Surgeon General’s Office. The Medical Reserve Corps (or MRC) was born in July of 2002 as a specialized branch of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps.
Today, the Medical Reserve Corps is a national program with a local, volunteer network. Since the initiative began, MRC units have been formed in every state and territory and over 200,000 individuals have signed up to offer their expertise throughout the year and during times of community need.
Our History in Clinton County
The South Central Illinois MRC (SCI MRC) is a locally-based, volunteer corps, housed in the Clinton County Health Department. It was formed in August of 2010 from a cadre of volunteers who had been serving in the community for several years. In August 2013, the Washington County Health Department joined with us in this important endeavor. The SCI MRC’s objective is to support the Health Department’s mission to “provide services to protect the public’s health and to enhance the quality of human life through health education, health promotion and prevention.”
The SCI MRC meets monthly for updates, education and training. As a volunteer, it is imperative to attend these meetings on a regular basis so that you are trained and prepared for when a disaster strikes our jurisdiction. Additional trainings, drills and exercises are held throughout the year to challenge and increase our skills. Other volunteer opportunities are provided on a monthly basis, which are designed to support the health department’s mission and improve the community’s awareness about public health initiatives. As a volunteer, you will be expected to participate in at least four meetings and/or events per year to remain active.
Your Job as a Volunteer
You never know when a disaster may hit our community. Join the Medical Reserve Corps to receive training and learn what you and your family can do to get prepared and be involved. You don’t have to have a medical background to volunteer your time or make a difference in someone’s life. If ever you’ve thought about sharing your talents or everyday work skills in an emergency, print out an online application, stop by our office, or call us today for more information. “Volunteers building strong, healthy and prepared communities.” 930-A Fairfax, Carlyle, IL; (618) 594-2723 ext. 330.
Throughout the year, volunteers may be called upon to assist with prevention and outreach activities for the health department such as: assist with local health fairs, design bulletin-board displays, do public speaking on current public health initiatives, visit schools to teach proper hand washing, help with newsletters and social media, give flu shots, teach classes in smoking cessation or self-management of chronic diseases and much, much more.
In addition, during an emergency or disaster, the SCI MRC works with the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to provide emergency communication services (ARES) and to supplement existing emergency services to provide relief for emergency workers. Other partners may include local hospitals, neighboring health departments, or other organizations (such as the Red Cross.) The SCI MRC is available whenever critical events overwhelm existing resources within a community. These activities may include helping to: provide communications (ARES), direct traffic, deliver medical supplies, assist with shelters/alternate care facilities, support hospital surge, staff volunteer reception centers or family assistance centers, and help with mass prophylaxis clinics, etc.
As a volunteer with the SCI MRC, your work skills may be needed to assist the Health Department or its partner organizations during times of emergency or to supplement the everyday activities necessary to bring better health and wellness to our community. In addition, you will be learning specialized skills that will increase your knowledge, test your capacity, and enhance your experience to make a difference in the lives of your family, friends and neighbors.