Recently, we facilitated a meeting in Hampton, VA which was aimed at establishing relationships among public libraries, medical libraries, and community emergency preparedness and response. Our guest speaker was Teresa Blakeslee, the Peninsula Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator for Virginia. She spoke about the role of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in community preparedness and response, and helped us to identify possible roles for librarians who are interested in participating in that work. In addition to the health professionals who are deployed to emergency response sites, they need support people, too, and librarians typically have lots of skills that would benefit them, such as organizational abilities, communication skills, technological proficiency, and public service. MRC provides free training and maintains a database of volunteers based on abilities, willingness to be deployed locally or outside the area, special skills such as interpretive/translation skills, etc. To find out more, visit their website at http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/HomePage.
Ideas for becoming involved:
* Participate in initiatives that enhance and strengthen public health such as vaccination and health education programs
* Become familiar with existing local emergency plans, procedures and facilities
* Receive free training and continuing education on topics like personal safety in emergency situations, emergency management, Incident Command System