Save the Date: Training Drills Sept. 23 and 24

One of the best ways to maintain disaster skills and ensure top-notch communications across agencies is through full-scale exercises.

Full-scale exercises that include public health emergencies could involve setting up a mass dispensing clinic, which would test a range of skill sets.

Representatives from municipal and private services, volunteer agencies and affiliates have been immersed in plans for a major drill to take place in the Lowell area on September 23 and 24. The spectrum of participants includes public health, police, fire, the MRC, the Red Cross, local hospitals, MEMA (Mass Emergency Management Assn.) and FEMA (Federal EMA), as well as other organizations.

For the Upper Merrimack Valley MRC, preparations have included several tabletop drills and involvement in Local Emergency Planning (LEPC) Committee meetings. Crucial skill sets include knowledge of Incident Command and NIMS: the National Incident Management System. Various training sessions for members are in the planning stages.

A drill in May 2004 required decontamination, initial triage and treatment, and transport of victims in a mass-casualty scenario.

Although it could diminish the value of the exercises if too many details are revealed in advance, it is hoped that as many members of the MRC as possible will block out these dates and plan to participate.

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