2008 Events!

Read about our 2008 events:



Our unit had an especially busy April from start to finish, during which we enjoyed an even wider range of activities than usual for this time of year:

Regional 72-Hour Kit Initiative

The month began with our debut 72-hour kit event. Seventy local residents and MRC members learned about disaster preparedness and built emergency kits from supplies ordered in bulk. The initiative, the first of many to be offered throughout the region, was held in collaboration between the MRC and the Health Department.

MRC displays help in promoting our unit's
72-hour kit events, to replicate the April 3 kickoff
over the coming months across UMV communities.

This project provided a wonderful forum and a dual purpose: to create an opportunity in which to educate participants about emergency preparedness concepts such as developing communication and family plans, and to help local residents get started on establishing a go-kit. The kickoff experience helped us to evaluate the process for conducting similar events in the future, each of which will be followed by an MRC information session. Glass cases displaying kit contents, with the dates for upcoming events, will be placed at strategic locations throughout the region. (Check the web site over the next few weeks for the schedule.)

National MRC Conference

Leaders from the nation’s MRC units met this year in Portland, Oregon, sharing practical tips and networking opportunities to further strengthen the program.

Photo courtesy of George Tobin.

Captain Robert Tosatto, UMV MRC Director Sandy Collins,
and Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson
at the opening night ceremony.

Attendees in the capacity crowd represented
most of the 730 units from across the U.S.
MRC Coordinators Nancy Burns and Liisa Jackson,
Surgeon General Galson, and Sandy Collins.

Sandy Collins shared some of the lessons learned from the 72-hour kit event in her poster session, “Utilizing MRCs for Family Preparedness Efforts.” Collins also co-presented the pilot for a national New MRC Leaders Workshop. Meanwhile, Nancy Burns presented a poster on “Media Strategies for Promoting an MRC Unit” and helped to develop an MRC Crossword puzzle, which is available nationwide as a tool for MRC unit development and orientation.

Collins and Burns presented posters, and contributed to the Region I display that represented New England units.

This was the last time when unit leaders would convene for a conference specific to the MRC. Starting next year in Dallas, the annual MRC conference will be held in conjunction with response partners, to encourage stronger relationships with our affiliates.

Health Fairs

While the UMV MRC staff was away, members in Billerica and Tewksbury agreed to serve as team leaders and volunteers, representing our unit in health fairs that took place in both communities. Our unit is even more effective when volunteers step up to the plate for such events, and their contributions are truly valued!

Photo courtesy of Maureen Lamoureux – Shooting Stars Photography.
UMV MRC members review materials for the Medical Reserve Corps
display at the new Senior Center, for the Tewksbury health fair.

Boston Marathon

Twelve of our members signed up to supplement the medical staff at the 112th running of the Boston Marathon. This year’s event launched the first-ever partnership between the Boston Athletic Association and MRC units from across Massachusetts.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ostrow.
Some of the MRC members from across MA who attended a pre-race medical training
seminar in Boston gathered at the finish line for a photo.

This relationship is even more significant because the large-scale event allowed multiple agencies to work together in a simulated disaster drill, using volunteers that included MRC members. Organizers applied state-of-the-art technology and ICS protocols throughout the day, to monitor over 25,000 runners and to coordinate interactions across thousands of staff members, volunteers, and spectators.

Most of the UMV MRC volunteers were assigned to medical ‘sweep teams.’ These groups were instructed to look carefully at runners who had crossed the finish line and triage those who might be in need of treatment, sending those who had become ill to one of the two massive medical tents nearby. Other members served within the tents and at other facilities, which had been set up to provide definitive care.

Among thousands of healthy finishers
were runners who needed transport to a medical tent via wheelchair.
Member of the sweep team
assesses a runner for injury.

Over 900 runners were treated in the medical tents. Of the 134 medical volunteers, 56 were members of MRC units in Massachusetts. Each of our volunteers said that they found the experience gratifying. Many of them remarked at how appreciative the runners and marathon staff had been regarding their service.

Massachusetts Medical Society Forum

The staff and numerous members of the UMV MRC were among over two hundred attendees at a statewide forum in Waltham that was sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS). “Know the Response: Disaster Management and Communication for the Health Care Provider” gathered physicians, nurses, public health professionals, and emergency response affiliates to build on the latest developments in the field.

The MRC program was highly touted throughout the presentations. Dr. Paul Biddinger, Director of Disaster Medicine at MA General Hospital and chair of the MMS Committee on Preparedness, urged the group that MRC units provide “a spectacular way to get involved in your community and improve local response capabilities.”


January, February, and March

UMV MRC Swings Into Spring!

Our unit remained quite active throughout the first three months of 2008.

We were busy in January with the Emergency Dispensing Site drill and the launch of four new subcommittees, while continuing to welcome new members and stay involved with activities at the local, state, and national level. February included a ‘Train-the-Trainer’ seminar for Flu Care At Home, in which ten members were certified to participate in an education team for sharing health information throughout our region. This training supports a flu care initiative being promoted statewide by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

March brought the start of health fair season! Members served at the Westford Municipal Employees fair on the 4th, and a health fair at Chelmsford High School on the 6th. Members who served at the Volunteer Fair at the Chelmsford Senior Center on the 22nd were also interviewed by the local cable TV station, which was covering the event.

Volunteers at the Westford fair were busy
providing blood pressure screenings.
Visitors to the MRC booth in Chelmsford
asked about preparedness and flu care.

Meanwhile, members signed up to help with fairs that are scheduled for Billerica and Tewksbury in April. Each of these events provides a community service, while raising awareness of the MRC and recruiting new members into our unit.

Awareness activities continued with a presentation to the Billerica Rotary. This organization followed up by making a donation to the UMV MRC for supplies and materials:

UMV MRC Coordinator, Nancy Burns, described
our unit and the national MRC program.

We also offered our debut of a First Aid class, which filled rapidly:

Our debut offering of First Aid allowed a capacity crowd to practice splinting and other emergency measures.

The crowning achievement for the season was our first-ever 72-hour kit event, held in Westford on April 1. Throughout the weeks before, Westford residents and UMV MRC members were invited to pre-pay the Board of Health for a bulk purchase of steeply-discounted items. Seventy kits were purchased, which attendees carried away in bright red emergency backpacks.

Sample contents of a 72-hour emergency kit.
Members helped to set up the event and
explained preparedness concepts.

Local residents loaded items into their own kits.

Furthermore, the procedures that were developed to raise awareness and conduct this event were documented in a poster, to be presented at the national MRC conference in April.

Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886