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OSDH Supported by Volunteers During Tornado Recovery Efforts

For Release: May 30, 2017 - Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) provides a number of support services for those affected by tornadoes and other natural disasters. These services are often supplemented by a dedicated group of statewide volunteers.

Following the tornado which recently hit Elk City, OSDH activated the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (OKMRC). Nearly 20 OKMRC volunteers provided first aid, stress and mental health services, donation management and large animal response services.

OKMRC volunteers contributed nearly 300 hours of service at various locations in the days following the tornado. First aid was provided in the field to those involved in cleanup. Volunteers who also serve with Oklahoma’s Large Animal First Response Team provided medical care to injured livestock at two farms. As a result, two horses were transported to the Oklahoma State University vet facility for further care. Other unique areas of service included the Stress Response Team who deployed to assist the Oklahoma Council of Churches with neighborhood walk-through visits by disaster spiritual care members and mental health providers.

Lezlie Carter, OKMRC state coordinator, said the service of these volunteers is invaluable.

“We are so thankful for the dedication of this group from Beckham County,” said Carter. “This is a great example of how OKMRC allows Oklahomans to serve those in their own community.”

The OKMRC is a statewide volunteer program administrated by OSDH. Currently, there are more than 5,300 OKMRC members throughout the state. Many are volunteers who are practicing or retired medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, hospital-based workers, nurse assistants, veterinarians, dentists and others with health/medical training. However, it’s not a requirement for a volunteer to have a medical background. Community citizens without medical training can assist the primary health teams with administrative assistance, communications, record keeping and other support functions.

Upon entering the program, volunteers have the opportunity to be trained on a community's emergency procedures, trauma response techniques, use of specialized equipment and other information. For more information about the organization or to become a volunteer, visit the website at www.okmrc.org.

OKMRC Volunteers

(Pictured from left to right): OKMRC volunteers Jos Mottershead and Kevin Trimmell provide care to a horse injured in the Elk City tornado. The volunteers work jointly with OKMRC and the Oklahoma Large Animal First Response Team.

OKMRC First Aid

(Pictured from left to right): OKMRC volunteers Jo Miller, Jessica Wright and Chad Newton work at the first aid station established in Elk City to assist those doing cleanup after the tornado.

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