For the Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — When disaster strikes, community members can be an essential part of “A Prepared Maryland” by registering as a Maryland Responds volunteer.
MD Responds is administered by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Preparedness and Response. The Allegany County Health Department is working to recruit at least 75 new registered volunteers — both health care professionals and community members — who would be willing to respond to local emergencies and support ongoing public health efforts.
The volunteers may deliver a variety of necessary public health services during a crisis. They may also assist with providing ongoing public health needs such as screenings, health and nutrition education, and public health clinics. Volunteers are needed to assist with logistical issues such as transportation, security, traffic direction, clinic setup, patient tracking, greeting/guiding clients and public information services such as hotline staffing.
Membership is open to anyone 18 or older, and the Web-based registration system allows volunteers to designate whether they wish to respond only to local public health efforts or also regionally or nationally. Registering as a volunteer does not mean that individuals are required to respond to every situation. If a public health concern arises, MD Responds will have a way to contact registered volunteers to see if they are available.
New volunteers are re-quired to complete orientation training and should be able to assist in the event of an emergency, participate in annual exercises and drills, and support ongoing public health outreach projects.
Prospective volunteers can visit the website www. mdresponds.dhmh.maryland.gov/ to complete a registration form and volunteer profile.
For more information about the program, visit MDR.dhmh.maryland.gov or call 410-767-7772.