In the Community

Partnering for Preparedness

Southwest Utah MRC Vaccinates Nearly 2,100

 In September and October of 2020, the Southwest Utah MRC partnered with 16 organizations, including the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, and the Community Emergency Response Team, to vaccinate almost 2100 individuals at the 14th Annual Flu Shoot-Out events throughout the five county region. The events had drive-thru and walk-in points of dispensing (POD) at each location. Non-medical MRC volunteers provided triage, education, registration, security, and logistical support, while the medical MRC volunteers gave vaccinations.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department serves five rural counties, over 17,000 square miles. There are no other public health agencies within 200 miles of St. George.

Partnerships with other agencies are extremely critical in taking steps to prevent a disease outbreak over a large rural area. Furthermore, the health department previously employed a staff of 126 in 2005, but due to budget cuts, it was forced to reduce staff to 56 employees by 2012. With such a large reduction in public health staff, PODs could not happen without volunteers from the MRC.

Masters of Disasters Innovation Challenge

The SWUMRC in partnership with one of the local Health Occupation Student Association (HOSA) chapters at Pine View High School in St. George organized a preparedness project teaching a class of 5th graders at a local elementary school their role in an emergency. HOSA and MRC worked together to teach the valuable Red Cross “Masters of Disasters” training once a week for 10-11 weeks. The project concluded at the end of the school year with the kids receiving a backpack reading “I’m not scared ’cause I’m prepared” filled with emergency supplies. The HOSA chapter president presented the project at the HOSA State Competition and took 2nd place. Then he headed to Nationals in Nashville, TN to present this project again. We are grateful to HOSA and MRC members for their hard work.

MRC Gets Ironman Prepared

Each year, the Southwest Utah Medical Reserve Corps is involved in setting up and manning a large, 50-bed Field Medical Hospital (formerly called BLU-MED) tent at Sand Hollow Reservoir. This BLU-MED tent is a temporary medical facility and is set up as part of the Ironman swim event primarily to treat possible cases of hypothermia and exhaustion in the athletes. It also plays a roll in exercising and training for emergency situations.

2019 was the tenth year the medical tent has been set up at the Ironman event in Southern Utah. The tent, which was purchased for medical surge and emergency situations has so far only been utilized at these type of planned events. The regular deployment of this asset allows for practice and training of medical staff and volunteers who would come from all over to assist in a real emergency.   

In addition to SWUMRC volunteers, a variety of other agencies and individuals participate in the setup and staffing of the tents. Examples of the different teams include a Veterans Affairs team that helped provide security, a group from Primary Children’s Hospital, and Utah’s DMAT team, IHC, among others.  We appreciate those individuals and teams who set up and manned the tent. They modeled exemplary community preparedness and their hard work paid off in keeping the Ironman athletes safe.

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