Volunteers Sought for Health Drill
The pills are fake. The emergency situation is fake. But, the chance to help out your community is real, and so is the chance to try out your acting skills. It is an effort for officials to test the efficiency and preparedness of the public health system during an emergency situation.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Protection is going to be bringing in a cache of emergency supplies, and they want to make sure New Mexico is prepared to get those supplies out into the communities that need them during a disease outbreak," said Dr. Laura Banks, assistant professor with the Department of Emergency Medicine at UNM Hospital.
Banks said organizers are looking for at least 30 volunteers to help with the drill, which will take place on July 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Estancia.
Banks admits it won't be easy getting that many people to help out for most of the day on a Wednesday, but she is hoping for a good turnout anyway.
When the volunteers arrive that day, they will be given instructions on who they will be pretending to be — they will have multiple roles throughout the day — as well as what the "emergency" situation is. Then the simulation begins, as they go through the "clinic," fill out paperwork, and interact with the emergency workers. Then, the volunteers take on their next persona, and do it all again.
The Department of Health picked Estancia for the exercise, said Banks, along with four other communities in the state.
Banks said it is a good opportunity for residents of the area.
"It's important to include the community in these preparedness activities, because it is your community. And, it's beneficial to have other people involved just so they're aware that these things are happening, and that the system is working to be prepared," Banks said.
A free lunch will be provided. You must be 18 years of age or older, or 12 to 17 if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children under age 12 are not allowed.
If you are interested, you can email Ashley at AMcConnell@salud.unm.edu with your name and the number of people in your group who will be volunteering. You will receive a reply with more instructions, and the location of the drill.