Free Word of Mouth?!
I’m a Medical Reserve Corps coordinator by day, and a Medical Reserve Corps coordinator by night. Yes, that’s right. When disasters happen in any one of my areas at any time, I jump into response mode!
I love disasters. Not to say I love what they bring with them, but I love the opportunity to protect the community where I live and work by providing focused coordination for people who want to do good work for the people who need it most. In case you’re not familiar, a Medical Reserve Corps unit is a team of dedicated medical and non-medical professionals who have committed their own personal time to promoting disaster preparedness, response, and often times public health. Literally people who have made a decision to become part of something bigger than themselves.
Working with people who have actually donated their time because they care about their community as much as I do is a complete privilege and an honor. In Virginia, we have over 13,000 members (to my last recollection). That is 13,000 people who have said, yes! I cared enough to commit my free time to preparedness. 13,000 people who could potentially be looking after you in a shelter, a disease outbreak, a mass shooting, an act of terrorism. 13,000 people who don’t need us, but how much we need them is unfathomable.
Everyone cares about emergency preparedness directly following the impact of a natural disaster or a catastrophic event. But in order for emergency management to do any good at all, we need people to care what happens when nothing is happening. And it isn’t always the easiest job in the world to convince people to spend money they don’t have on things that will “never happen here.”
Well then, aren’t you lucky? No matter what state you’re in, MRC members are turning the idea of preparedness into the act of preparedness. I think we all recognize that statistically speaking, prepared communities are more resilient before, during and after a disaster. And it isn’t just the MRC by any means, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), American Red Cross, and various Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are also becoming the conduits for our message. Being word of mouth advertising, planning for their families and themselves.
Want to spread a message of preparedness quickly and efficiently and skip the part where you convince people it’s necessary? Try one of these free resources that include people who have already made a statement – I’m part of something bigger than myself.
Virginia MRC: www.vamrc.org
National MRC: www.medicalreservecorps.gov
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org