10th Anniversary of Preparedness Month

This September marked the ten-year anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01. Our volunteers were engaged in activities throughout National Preparedness Month to commemorate our nation's resilience. Activities included:

Informal Drop-in Days, in which members could stop by our office to brush up on the unit, ask questions, and review materials.

Dracut's annual Old Home Family Day, promoting public health initiatives and raising awareness of the MRC program and our local unit..

Two shifts of volunteers (morning and afternoon, shown above) staffed the MRC display throughout Dracut's Old Home Day. Activities included the national 'Let's Move!' initiative to encourage fitness.

Members enjoyed a site visit with presentations at the Metta Health Center in Lowell. This event was provided upon request, as a follow-up to a Training Day seminar on Culturally Competent Health Care.

Members learned more about providing culturally appropriate medical care in disasters by visiting a clinic in Lowell that offers both traditional and mainstream services for the local Southeast Asian community.
Visitors observed multi-lingual signage and the blend of 'West Meets East' attributes
in exam rooms and throughout the facility.
Many of the attendees were learning for the first time about 'coining,' 'cupping,' and other healing modalities.
Presentations by staff from the Lowell Community Health Center and a tour of the facility brought new perspectives on cultural differences and positive ways to interact with those from Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

This year's MRC exhibit at Billerica's annual Yankee Doodle Homecoming Weekend added a special emphasis on Pet Preparedness and various types of emergency kits.

Members assembled after the parade to open the booth and provide details about the MRC and public health. They discussed 72-hour emergency kits, and offered free blood pressure screening upon request.
This was the first time our unit promoted Pet Preparedness with 'ambassador Cookie' (a gentle Great Dane), who drew visitors wanting to know about measures to provide for their animals.

American Heart Association courses updated members on the 2010 guidelines for Heartsaver CPR/AED, HealthCare Providers CPR/AED, and First Aid.

The Heartsaver course for non-medical students included the use of an Automated External Defibrillator. Infant CPR was practice while following along with a video, to ensure the proper rate of compressions.
Medical members at the Healthcare Providers level used advanced skills, including bag-valve-mask ventilations
and two-rescuer Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, while preparing for the operation of an AED.

The background of students in the AHA First Aid class ran the gamut. The class included both seasoned nurses and newly-graduated RNs, retired teachers, specialists in child and elder care, computer professionals, and others.

All came away with better hands-on skills for providing medical care in an emergency. Students are shown watching the video, learning about a flexible SAM splint, and viewing the application of a rigid splint with bandages -- before they practiced the skills themselves.

One of many benefits of UMV MRC membership is the ability to take classes taught by volunteer instructors, for the cost of materials (workbook and certification card).

Public demonstrations of the new Hands-Only CPR technique invited residents to sample this life-saving skill at the J.V. Fletcher Library in Westford.

Volunteers are shown preparing for visitors to stop by the library and sample 'Hands-Only CPR' for themselves. Handouts provided a list of courses available in the area for becoming trained and certified in all levels of CPR/AED.

We also continued to promote family preparedness and sell 72-hour kits at cost, with tips on how to customize the kits for individuals.

There are any number of ways to create a 72-hour emergency kit that can be customized for individuals and families. Our unit has offered both versions shown above to interested residents, passing along the cost savings from bulk purchases for specialty items. The educational aspect of this non-profit initiative was to suggest personal items to insert -- such as a 3-day supply of medication, keys, essential phone numbers, games for children, snacks, and various materials to provide comfort in a disaster.