A busy season for Big Country MRC

The Big Country Medical Reserve Corps unit participated in three major activities including patient transport for a nursing home that was moving to a facility, the assistance of a shelter 30 miles away in Colorado City due to widespread fires in the community during the month of February, and the assistance of a shelter in Roby due to the evacuation of Rotan during the wild fires in April. On Feb. 15, 2011 MRC volunteers assisted with the transport of 60 patients at the nursing home via two mini busses with wheelchair lifts. Many volunteers are nurses so they already had training experience in patient transfer, but the evacuation element itself was a new learning experience, according to BCMRC volunteers.The unit was then asked on Feb. 28, 2011, on behalf of the local fire chief to help at a shelter in Colorado City where many residents were taking refuge due to fires in the community. The 50 nursing home patients were at the shelter for five hours during one evening. The MRC provided cots and staffing services to the shelter. Volunteers also assisted with patient care, cleaned the facility, answered questions, provided security and two doctors in the MRC worked on patients in respiratory distress, who were eventually then transferred to a local hospital. Once the nursing home was declared safe from the fires, the volunteers helped the patients get back onto the busses and load equipment for transfer back to a nursing home.The MRC did a great job of providing a timely response and helped to minimize chaos. Within an hour of receiving the call of request, volunteers were already at the shelter. The MRC response prompted staff from Kristi Lee Manor nursing home to inquire about starting an MRC unit in Colorado City.On April 14, 2011, wild fires once again required evacuation and shelter set up. This time the citizens of Rotan were evacuated to local churches in Roby. Big Country MRC again responded with volunteers and supplies to help with the situation. The citizens of Roby turned out in a big way to open up the churches, register evacuees and provide food and drinks for those that were asked to leave their homes. "The members of First Baptist Church of Roby, Roby United Methodist Church and Roby Church of Christ should be commended for their willingness to serve, the timeliness of their response and for the use of their facilities during this event," said Ray Browning, MRC coordinator. "It's very encouraging seeing neighbors rise up to help neighbors during times of need."The mission of the Big Country Medical Reserve Corps (BCMRC) is to engage local volunteers to strengthen public health, emergency response and community resiliency. It is a group of “neighbors” willing to be called upon in a moments notice to help their neighbors. The Big Country Medical Reserve is actively recruiting people that have a heart to volunteer in times of need. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and epidemiologists. Community members including interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors and others are needed to fill key support positions. There is an opportunity and a need for anyone who has the desire to volunteer. For more information on volunteering or getting involved with the BCMRC, call Ray Browning at 325-235-5463 ext. 13. To learn more about the Medical Reserve Corps on the national level visit http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov.