More than 160 volunteers for the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (OKMRC) gathered in Oklahoma City recently for training and a full-scale exercise designed to better prepare them to respond to emergencies and disasters.
The OKMRC is directed and funded by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), and is the state’s only medical and public health volunteer program. The statewide system is comprised of county units and specialty teams called upon to serve in various capacities during public health events and emergencies.
The exercise was conducted at Heritage Place Event Center where volunteers from across the state were given a scenario of a large tornado affecting multiple counties. Participants practiced working in shelters for humans, small animals and large animals displaced by a natural disaster. They addressed issues such as first aid, mental health support, shelter security, triage, animal care and proper placement.
In addition to the exercise, volunteers attended training on topics including “Stop the Bleed” training, opioid overdose training, Skills for Psychological Recovery, animal issues in disasters and animal first aid.
Recognition awards were presented to OKMRC units and individuals for exceptional service. They are listed below:
Community Resilience Award – Tulsa County MRC
Champion Award – Comanche/Cotton & Kiowa/Caddo MRC Units
Outstanding MRC Responder- Paige Nutter, Choctaw Nation MRC
Outstanding MRC Public Health Volunteer- Jimmie Dobbs, Tulsa MRC
Outstanding MRC Partnership – Payne County Animal Response Team
Innovator Award – Choctaw Nation MRC – Tvhska Himitta Youth Program
MRC Youth Engagement Award – Oklahoma Nurses MRC
Outstanding MRC Housing Organization- Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management
OKMRC Picture of the Year – Choctaw Nation MRC, Atoka Wildfire Response
OKMRC Picture of the Year – Honorable Mention, Tulsa MRC
Mentor Award – Carrie Suns, Tulsa County MRC
Marci Widmann Spirit of the OKMRC Award - Mike Payne, Oklahoma County MRC
Other agencies participating in the training and exercise included the OKC-County Health Department, Tulsa Health Department, Choctaw Nation, Stress Response Team MRC, State Animal Response Team MRC, Oklahoma Large Animal First Responders, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
OKMRC volunteers practice first aid and CPR during a full-scale exercise where a shelter is being provided for those affected by a tornado.
OKMRC volunteers with the Large Animal Response Team assess a horse for a scenario during the exercise.
Volunteers practice establishing a shelter for small animals displaced by a tornado.
An OKMRC volunteer conducts an assessment on a person displaced by a tornado in the shelter exercise.