unit was surprisingly busy throughout this harsh winter and into
the early spring. Here's a summary of our activities from January
through April 2014. Click an item in the table below to jump ahead,
or read through the entire summary to learn about our activities
throughout these four months.
Classes / National Heart Month
First Aid Seminars
Fair / Westford Town Meeting
Event at LGH
/ HOSA Updates
the Valley (UMV)
TRAINING -- We
are proud of our members who continued their education through
Collins leads a segment on emergency
preparedness in our unit's third offering
of the sheltering class for MRC volunteers.
UMV MRC volunteers participated in our
last two offerings this seaspon of the Introduction to Sheltering
course. Medical participants received four hours of free continuing
education credits. We are also continuing to recruit volunteers
for strike teams -- Administrative, Medical, and Behavioral Health
-- and preparing for a major drill on May 10.
AHA / ARC --
In honor of National Heart Month, we held American Heart Association
classes on CPR/AED for both medical (Healthcare Professional)
and non-medical (Heartsaver) members. For the first time,
our unit was invited to help with an American Red Cross blood
drive, which further supported cardiovascular care. We also
developed a new curriculum to provide our debut Chokesaver
course for food service employees who work in Westford schools
and restaurants. Click
here for details.
PFA -- We are
pleased to share information about courses offered by the MA Department
of Public Health, even when we don't provide the classes ourselves.
Six members completed an all-day training at Lowell General Hospital
on Psychological First Aid. These behavioral health skills
can be crucial when comforting disaster victims. Additional classes
are available over the coming months.
and non-medical members prepare to greet area residents
at an annual Volunteer Fair in Chelmsford.
FAIRS AND PUBLIC SERVICE
season of community fairs was in full swing by mid-March. Our
members supported a robust Volunteer Fair that hosted 46
organizations and 250 participants, which was covered by cable
TV. The Wellness Fair welcomed 30 vendors and over 200
visitors. UMV MRC staff also posted an information table at a
Town Meeting of over 300 residents.
April began with major
health fairs in two additional communities in our region, drawing
over 700 area residents. Our volunteers screened 118 visitors
for hypertension and promoted public health initiatives. Each
event continues to raise awareness of the MRC while providing
a public service. We
also thank one of our RNs who stepped in on short notice to provide
additional support for a shingles clinic, inoculating elderly
residents in the host community. For
details and photos regarding our unit's involvement in these events,
PrepareAthon -- Our unit
was proud to support this national initiative. Click here
for the story.
-- Your Director and Coordinator continued to advocate for public
health initiatives through the UMV MRC. The Staff also kept up
with new opportunities for members and general administrative
- In one of the harshest winters on record, UMV MRC staff kept
a close eye on the weather and participated in con-calls with
multi-agency response partners, in case a deployment was needed.
We continue to post monthly MRC Unit Profiles on the national
web site, as well as sending quarterly reports to our statewide
MRC coordinator. To see how our unit is described on the national
MRC web site, including our most recent Profile updates, click
Web - We made
major changes to our Latest News section of the home page,
and hope you like what you see! Please let us know if you have
president of the HOSA group at Westford Academy (left) staffs
the MRC exhibit with another youth member at a recent fair.
HOSA - Two local
groups recently formed as part of a national youth organization
(formerly the Health Occupation Students of America). There is
now a HOSA chapter at Westford Academy and at Greater Lowell
Technical High School. Your staff has met with the Westford group,
and has already engaged its members in MRC activities.
In fact, we recently
learned that TEN members of HOSA in Westford won a regional championship,
in which they demonstrated their knowledge of health issues. The
group will be competing at the national finals in Florida in June.
Congratulations, HOSA students!
National - Your
Director and Coordinator keep in touch with news at the national
level by participating in monthly MRC Wellness Calls. This
innovative approach to communications allows unit leaders from
across the nation - including protectorates as far as Guam, Palau,
and the U.S. Virgin Islands - to address topics of interest. In
these days of budget cut-backs and travel restrictions, our network
of MRCs continues to find creative and effective ways in which
to interact. These calls began in November 2013, and continue
to take place on the first Tuesday of the month.
Our unit is always
on the lookout for great projects. We applied for a highly competitive
Department of Health and Human Services grant, and welcome suggestions
for grants and partnerships to pursue. We also provided photos
of our members in action for a presentation on National Health
Security, for ASPR (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response,
a subset of DHHS).
- The UMV MRC partnered with a health department and a local hospital
to offer yet another fitness event. The Hula Hoop Jam invited
families to stay active with coaching from master trainers (http://wildkathoops.com).
This free event involved 60 participants of all ages.
Across the Valley
- The quarterly meetings of our unit's UMV MRC Advisory Council
began this year with two new members: Laurie Lotti, RN
representing Lowell, and Patricia Wojtas, who is also a
selectman in her town, representing Chelmsford. Your Director
and Coordinator also participate in MRC work groups and disaster
education seminars. UMV MRC staff provided unit statistics to
the host agent -- the Town of Westford -- and continue to make
our response data available for town reports across our region
Statewide MRC Sheltering
and Response - Your staff members continue to learn from MRC
counterparts in other units. In addition to keeping in touch about
preparations for the Boston Marathon, your Director and Coordinator
served as evaluators during a drill at U.Mass Amherst. The Coordinator
visited a Preparedness Day sheltering event in Wayland. Click
here for the full story with photos.