Highland News Leader

Madison County Health Department looking for Medical Reserve Corps volunteers

When emergencies happen, communities must join together to meet the challenge. Preparing for the public health consequences of disasters in advance leads to enhanced resiliency in the days, weeks, and months afterward.

The Madison County Health Department (MCHD) takes its responsibility to protect its citizens very seriously, especially during a disaster affecting the public’s health.

But the department recognizes it cannot do it alone. In a large-scale disaster, where the potential for disease exists, additional trained volunteers will be needed to help existing MCHD staff get antibiotics or vaccines to the public who are impacted or most at risk.

That is why the health department continues to build its volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, a program that began in November 2005.

“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,” said Debra Tscheschlok, R.N., BSN, public health emergency response coordinator.

You do not have to have any medical background to be an Medical Reserve Corps volunteer. You only need to be 18 years of age or older. People with a variety of backgrounds and interests are being sought. There is an opportunity for everyone to help.

“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,” Tscheschlok said. “Volunteer orientation training is the first step toward meeting this goal.”

MCHD is hosting a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer orientation training from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23 at the Madison County Health Department, 101 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River. Volunteers will learn about the Madison County Medical Reserve Corps, “Public Health 101,” the Incident Command System, the Strategic National Stockpile, and family preparedness. To attend the March 23 volunteer orientation training session, contact Cathy Paone, Madison County Medical Reserve Corps volunteer coordinator, at (618) 296-6096 or cmpaone@co.madison.il.us. Advanced registration is required to attend the training. Seating is limited. Registration deadline is Monday, March 16.