September is National Preparedness Month. All this month, the Office of Public Health Preparedness will be spotlighting simple steps and tips to help you and your loved ones prepare in the event of an emergency. The new “Get Ready. Be Safe. Stay Healthy.” campaign encourages the whole community to work together to be more prepared. You can start doing your part to build a more resilient Boston by sharing this important information on Facebook and Twitter and taking the Pledge to Prepare.
This week, we are focusing on the Stay Healthy part of the campaign by highlighting ways you can remain healthy before, during, and after an emergency. Below are tips and tricks to help you take control of your everyday health and stay connected with your community. To learn more about National Preparedness Month and the “Get Ready. Be Safe. Stay Healthy.” campaign, visit our previous blog post.
Earlier this week, we highlighted how preparedness role models can help their neighbors, family, and friends better cope after a disaster. Preparedness role models help start a conversation within their communities about the importance of emergency planning and share with others safety and health tips that will help them make it through a disaster.
If you’re looking to be a preparedness role model for your community, consider joining the Boston Medical Reserve Corps. A community-based volunteer program, Boston MRC members are trained to address a wide range of challenges from disaster response to public health education. Members may also be asked to volunteer during an emergency to support the public health infrastructure of the City of Boston.
This past January, Boston MRC members truly acted as preparedness role models by helping to ensure residents were aware of the City’s efforts to increase access to the flu vaccine. As a part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s response to a particularly severe flu season, 20 Boston MRC members went to 6 sites across the city (Grove Hall, Dudley Station, Roxbury Crossing, Jackson Square, Forest Hills, and Fields Corner) and distributed information about the availability of free vaccination clinics. Information was distributed to roughly 5,000 residents, and on that same day, over 6,200 doses of flu vaccine reached the community.
Three additional Boston MRC members who are also Registered Nurses helped vaccinate patients at a free clinic in Hyde Park. Boston MRC members are trained on how to operate flu clinics and larger emergency dispensing sites in a class co-taught by the DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness entitled, “Managing a Mass Dispensing Clinic.” During this interactive session, participants review the logistics of setting up a mass dispensing clinic, activities and resources needed to operate a clinic, potential volunteer roles, and challenges in clinic management.
This past flu season was a great reminder that all of our community members, medical and nonmedical, have a role to play in helping keep Boston safe and prepared when an emergency occurs.
If you would like to make a difference in your neighborhoods and communities this upcoming flu season, consider joining the Boston MRC today! Interested volunteers can find out how to join by visiting our website, http://www.bostonmrc.org.