Monthly Archives: July 2016

Mass Care Seminar in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Leveraging Regional Partnerships for Better Local Planning

On March 18, 2016, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force (SEPA RTF) and the Health and Human Services Workgroup (HHS WG) sponsored a Mass Care Seminar at the Montgomery County Fire Academy in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania to bring together local and regional key stakeholders to discuss mass care preparedness and response planning. This seminar was the second exercise in a series of activities to explore and improve the region’s mass care emergency support function (ESF #6) capacity and capabilities.

Over 60 participants from over 30 local, state, and federal agencies and service providers attended the seminar from key sectors such as emergency management, public health, nongovernmental organizations, human services, and advocacy groups representing access and functional needs and disabled populations.

Participants enjoyed six informational sessions led by nationally recognized subject matter experts in mass care, including Denise Grimm, Dawn Skaggs, and Jon Bodie from BCFS Health and Human Services and Michael Whitehead from the American Red Cross National Headquarters. Session topics provided mass care planning information, best practices, and methods for improving local mass care plans and partnerships. The six sessions led participants through key issues such as providing medical care in local mass care shelters, how to support those with access and functional needs both in planning and in response, incorporating mental health services in emergency planning and sheltering, and how to better coordinate and incorporate nongovernmental organizations and other non-traditional agencies into the local mass care process.

Seminar participants described this effort as important for enhancing agency networking and improving partnerships. Several attendees agreed that the information was crucial but also validated their own organizational directives and planning efforts. The motto “Be Ready, Not Relaxed” was provided by one of the participants, who stated that the seminar was a great collaboration for the region and hoped to see more opportunities like this one for future coordination.

Information from the seminar is available online at: http://www.ttemidev.com/mass-care/. Seminar materials include event objectives, speaker bios, and presentations as well as a list of online resources mentioned throughout the day.

More About the Sponsor:

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force – Health and Human Services Workgroup includes the City and County of Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. The Health and Human Services Workgroup continues to work to improve the local and regional mass care response within the region through an integrative, collaborative, and cooperative program that builds, maintains, and enhances preparedness capabilities among regional stakeholders.

Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) Planning Resource

The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) Planning Resource describes duties and responsibilities of individuals, agencies and volunteer organizations in the event of a disaster. The MARC Planning Resource is a living document and the contributors acknowledge there will be changes for each community and instance. The experience and knowledge regarding MARCs is growing. Over time, there will be new and different complexities and challenges, new lessons learned and knowledge gained, and lives improved on the path to recovery. Please share this knowledge and experience with others by collecting and recording information, experiences, expenses and decisions that help people in their time of need.

 Development of the MARC Planning Resource was highly collaborative and written based on the experience of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army, as this is the experience and knowledge of the contributors and reviewers.  All three organizations were involved throughout the development of the material.

 Additional reviews were completed by teams at FEMA, Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army and Red Cross. Over 50 additional individuals provided comments and input to this document, and we hope we have improved the document based on their feedback.

 Also utilized in the development of the document were coalitions and the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) in the following states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina. Feedback was also incorporated in real time from existing MARCs and MARC exercises.

 In addition, a course is available through the American Red Cross:

Online courses are available 24/7 in the EMBARC Learning Management System. Learners can enroll in the course after logging into the system using the appropriate URL below:

Volunteer URL – https://embarc-learning.sabacloud.com (log in using your EMBARC username and password)

Red Cross Employee URL – https://embarc.sabacloud.com (if prompted, log in using your Red Cross network credentials)