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Founded in 2002 as one of the pilot MRC programs, we exist to improve the health and safety of our community. MRC is made up of medical and non-medical volunteers who are trained to respond to public health emergencies and disasters. We also participate in service and outreach events that promote community health, emergency preparedness and resiliency.
The Berkshire MRC participates in several Emergency Drills and Tabletop exercises throughout the year with area Regional Emergency Preparedness Committees and hospitals, and has cooperation and support from all local board of health officials, emergency personnel, community members, medical institutions. Berkshire MRC Volunteers have worked thousands of hours to date supporting COVID clinic operations in a variety of roles.
The BMRC has 420 active, trained and pre-credentialed members in it’s response database, approximately 35% of which have medical backgrounds. Our service area includes all 32 towns in Berkshire County.
Our goal is to carry a message of preparedness to community members and to be an effective and efficient response partner to hospital staff, first responders, and public health authorities throughout the county. To fulfill our goal we consistently offer training and practice exercise opportunities to our members.
There are several accomplishments in the past few years that we have been recognized for. In 2010 when H1N1 became a threat to our community, Berkshire MRC volunteers paid an important role in the County’s response. During the vaccination efforts at Emergency Dispensing Sites, volunteers worked almost 500 volunteers hours, earning our unit recognition and many accolades from public health officials, key community leaders and community partner agencies.
In November 2009, The Berkshire Disaster Animal Response TEAM was formed under the auspices of our Unit to address a planning gap around animal preparedness that was identified by our Regional Emergency Planning Committees (we have 3 in Berkshire County: one south, one central and one north). As a result of this initiative, a group of trained and committed DART volunteers are prepared and able to set up and operate an emergency animal shelter in the event one is needed concurrent to a shelter for people. For information about Berkshire DART, or to learn about volunteering, please visit www.wmdart.org.
The Berkshire MRC and its Disaster Animal Response Team are currently seeking volunteers to serve in all capacities, including Team Leadership. If you think you have what it takes to be an MRC volunteer, or know someone who may, please visit www.wmmrc.org/COVID for instructions on joining.