News and Events

Year-End Review

So much has been happening with the unit in the final months of 2005, it helps to pause for a moment and reflect on some of the highlights.

Marianne Bitner, director of clinical services for Trinity
Ambulance, displays triage tags to students in the popular
S.T.A.R.T. (Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment) class.

Over 100 members were engaged in UMV MRC activities between mid-August and early November. Our volunteers attended training classes, helped in deployments, participated in a regional disaster drill, and supported seven flu clinics and a health fair.

The unit offered two series of Red Cross disaster classes through October and early November.

Thanks to the latest graduates, our unit now has 85 members who are certified to staff an emergency shelter anywhere in the U.S. Three of those members are officially recognized as disaster instructors, including two who were signed off through teaching the fall classes. If floods, snowstorms, and other disasters displace local residents from their homes (which happened this fall in nearby Keene, NH and Taunton, MA), these members are especially trained to help.

Your staff members have continued to participate in MRC initiatives on the state and national level. The director and coordinator gave several presentations to other regions in Massachusetts upon request, because their communities are eager to launch MRC units. We’ve participated in statewide meetings and conference calls, sharing ideas on a new video and web site for Massachusetts units. We are also involved in national task forces; one for a volunteer registration system, and another for response to mass casualty incidents.

Linda McCarthy and Dinah Sue Deck are the two RNs who earned certification this fall as Red Cross instructors for the MRC. They are now qualified to teach all four modules of the disaster series.
Paul Royte and Bob Veth help with clinic registration.

Nurses Donna Nadolny and Beth Corrow share a light moment while preparing for a flu clinic.

Your Advisory Council has been helping to shape our Standard Operating Procedures, member communications, and other aspects that play a key role in the success of our unit. Look for our New Year’s newsletter in January 2006!

We are proud of our current members (265 and counting!), as we continue to welcome new ones, and wish each of you a delightful year ahead.

Dr. David Eberiel, EMT, takes a visitor's blood pressure at the Chelmsford health fair.
Linda Gilmore, RN, prepares to administer tetanus boosters.

NIMS-700 Training

On a frosty day in mid-December, several members attended the UMV MRC’s final training session of 2005. The emergency management department for the City of Lowell sponsored a classroom offering of NIMS: the National Incident Management System. The class took place in the venerable Pollard Memorial Library in downtown Lowell.

Members attended NIMS-700 training, taught by Emergency Management instructors for the City of Lowell. From left to right: Chief William Desrosiers, Lowell Fire Dept.; Mark Boldrighini, Lowell's deputy director of emergency management; UMV MRC members Dr. Paul Royte, Bill Cahill, Dottie Mullen, Esther-Diana Menke, and Nancy Liva.

The catalyst for NIMS training was Homeland Security Presidential Directive #5, which specified the development of a national incident management system and a new national response plan.

The main purpose of NIMS is to ensure a consistent nationwide approach for agencies that work together in responding to a variety of incidents. “This can mean any disaster," emphasized instructor Mark Boldrighini, “such as a chemical truck falling into a river. Think ‘large scale’ when you consider NIMS.”

Boldrighini stressed the importance of responders across communities being able to work together. “A plume of hazardous materials doesn’t know to stop at the town line,” he joked. Fire Chief Richard Desrosiers added, “Keep in mind that all incidents start and end at the local level.” Federal response plans require local agencies to prepare for self-sufficiency throughout the first 72 hours of an incident.

Many agencies that provide staff or volunteer first responders are mandated to complete NIMS-700 training, to qualify for federal reimbursements. Response plans have expanded in scope to accommodate public health, school nurses, department of public works employees, and other groups that were not traditionally included with first responders such as police, fire, and emergency medical services.

The instructors noted that disaster response benefits from mutual aid arrangements which are written down in advance and nurtured – supplemented with joint training and drills – to encourage positive interaction across agencies. Other topics included coordination of resources, ensuring rescuer safety, the value of standard terminology, and non-emergency uses of NIMS.

Members of the UMV MRC are strongly encouraged to take NIMS-700, in either classroom or online format. (See for information about NIMS online training.)


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