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    National Preparedness Month: Join the Md. Responds Medical Reserve Corps
    Baltimore, MD (September 11, 2015) – September is National Preparedness Month, and it is a great time to register for the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. Maryland Responders are dedicated volunteers who stand ready to respond to the public health needs of our community, such as providing support during natural disasters or preparing for flu season.
    'Disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility. Emergencies can overwhelm the capability of first responders, especially during the first 12 to 72 hours,' says Stephanie Parsons, who coordinates the program. 'Having citizens who are prepared to take care of themselves, their families and others during times of crisis allows first responders to focus their efforts on the most critical life-threatening situations.'
    Membership is open to anyone 18 or older, including medical professionals and community members. Maryland Responders are provided with free training in emergency response and other topics. For more information about Maryland Responds, visit http://mdr.dhmh.maryland.gov. To register, visit https://mdresponds.dhmh.maryland.gov.
    Maryland Responds was awarded a Silver Award for its volunteer newsletters at the 2015 National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) Awards of Excellence in Public Health Communications. The newsletters, viewable at http://goo.gl/UShjLf, highlight the hard work and commitment of volunteer public health professionals around the state. Last year, the program received two NPHIC Awards of Excellence.
    Like Maryland Responds at www.facebook.com/MDResponds, and follow at www.twitter.com/MarylandOPR. Maryland Responds is administered by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), Office of Preparedness & Response (OP&R). For information about OP&R and emergency preparedness, visit http://goo.gl/iA4Bkg.   
    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH and www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.