Imagine a crop duster going out of control, and spraying dangerous — if not fatal —chemicals over the city of Newton.
Where would you go for treatment, and who would give it, when hundreds if not thousands of people will need it at the same time?
The answer to the first question is Grace Community Church. The answer to the second is the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps and the South Central Metro Region Health Partners under programs administrated locally by the Harvey County Health Department.
“In April we are going to have a full-scale simulation of an event,” said Skip Cowan, assistant director of community services for the Health Department. “We still need volunteers, both to run the vent and actors.”
On that day volunteers will simulate the dispensing of medication and EMS will simulate taking patients to Newton Medical Center. Part of the exercise will be on the grounds of the Hospital.
“We have really come together lately, which is great,” Cowan said.
In order to become a volunteer, there is a pair of Web sites to visit and sign up at — mediclreservecorps.gov or bepreparedkansas.com. Cowan said prospective volunteers only need to sign up at one place, or call him at (800) 414-4244.
Cowan said there is really only one difference between Medical Reserve Corps volunteers and those who sign up with the South Central Metro Region Health Partners at bepreparedkansas.com.
“The Medical Reserve Corps uses the same volunteers we have as before, but they want you to take (Incident Command System) training. The training is designed to help you understand, in a real emergency, who is in charge and the chain of command.”
There are between 75 and 100 volunteers on his list, and he would like more.
“I’d like to double that,” Cowan said. “We need it year round, and in a real emergency we’ll need more volunteers.”
The goal of the medical dispensing program, which would dispense medications at the church, would be to get everyone affected by the event treated within 48 hours.
Cowan said nearly anyone who wants to volunteer to help in either a training exercise or an actual emergency can do so.
“This is a good way to connected medical professionals and those without training at all,” Cowan said.