Nope—not getting a ridiculously early head start on Advent! Just practicing verbal economy in trying to sum up my new job in one word. As those who live and breathe preparation—in worship, in mission, in just about any ministry of the church that can be named—we can all appreciate the importance of forethought in planning and preparation to pursue the kind of excellence of effort that our God is worthy of. While holding on to that in one area of my life, I’m now in a place where that kind of preparedness has become my daily bread (and butter!) in another. My Monday-Friday/9-5 marketplace is now emergency preparedness.
We remember, too well, the trials and travails that affected so many of our brothers and sisters, particularly in the Schoharie County area, following Hurricane Irene and Super Storm Sandy. Wasn’t a very good “super” at all! One positive outcome, however, was the formation of the Presbytery’s Disaster Response Task Force, whose recovery plan helped our churches take a serious look at steps that could be taken to minimize the trauma and chaos inherent with such events. Simple things like Go Bags, contact information, building inventories and insurance information all contribute to a semblance of normalcy when everything around us is anything but. (See the Disaster Planning Guide here)
As Coordinator of my county’s Medical Reserve Corps, I’m responsible for the recruitment, training, and deploying of hundreds of volunteers, both the medically skilled and the not-so-much, to pre-staged dispensing locations in the event of a pandemic or other significant public health crisis requiring the rapid inoculation or vaccination of the entire county in short order. I’m part of an emergency preparedness team, that thinks through disastrous what-if scenarios and plans for survival and rapid recovery–an unfortunate growth industry since 9/11. Ever hear of Zika? It’s more than just the last name of my good friend, John in college. It’s got people on edge with its threat to pregnant women of significant birth defects. How about PFOA? Our friends in Hoosick Falls know anything about that? (See what is happening in Hoosick Falls: PDA Sowing the Seeds for Long Term Recovery and Support)
Active Shooter is another term that has crept uncomfortably into our daily lexicon. There are no longer just school shootings. There have been victims in churches, movie theatres, and hosts of other public venues. When that particular unthinkable happens, do we just freeze and allow ourselves to be mowed down by the latest heavily-armed notoriety seeker? An Active Shooter Training has been developed to instill a multi-option response instinct to better our chances of surviving such an encounter.
Can we all do better at these things without sacrificing our intrinsic faith in a sovereign God? You bet we can. Let’s start a conversation. My colleague, Jennifer Lee, is hosting a Faith-Based Breakfast on Tuesday, June 21st from 9-11am here at the Rensselaer County Office Building (home of the DMV)—1600 Seventh Avenue, Troy (5th Floor Conference Room). Please come and be our guests. We’ll be sharing a number of updates regarding public health matters of interest to county residents. Two law-enforcement officers will describe the Active Shooter Training they are making available to any interested groups. And I’ll offer a brief presentation on the Medical Reserve Corps and how just about anyone can help play an important role. To RSVP for the breakfast, please send an email to JLee@rensco.com by June 13 so we can expect you.
It’s not just the Boy Scouts’ motto anymore—BE PREPARED!
You find the Event Details and Agenda here: Faith-Based Breakfast: Community Public Health Topics
Sal Scecchitano is Director of Music and Audio-Visual for Troy’s Third Presbyterian Church and has recently moved from a position of Sr. Office Manager at the Rensselaer County Dept. of Mental Health to one as Public Health Aide and Coordinator of the Medical Reserve Corps for the County Health Dept. He moderated Albany Presbytery in 2014 and was a ruling-elder delegate to General Assembly in 2012.