Local Paramedic to Attend Federal Emergency Training
LaMonte Mears, a licensed paramedic with 25 years of experience now assigned to Houston Medical Center, will attend the spring Medical Reserve Corps’ Introduction to Federal Deployment Training. Mears is one of 32 professionals -- and the only one from Georgia -- selected from a nationwide pool for the training.
Mears, a Warner Robins High graduate who started off as a volunteer fireman with the Bonaire/Kathleen fire department in high school, has been a member of the Central Georgia Medical Reserve Corps since fall 2007. He was one of the first volunteers to join after the unit started actively recruiting members.
The Central Georgia Medical Reserve Corps was founded to improve the emergency capabilities of Middle Georgia through the advanced registration, organization and training of volunteer health professionals. The mission of the CGMRC is to assist and supplement Middle Georgia communities with health care volunteers in response to situations that overwhelm available resources. The CGMRC covers 13 counties in Middle Georgia: Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson. The Medical Reserve Corps Program, sponsored by the Office of the Surgeon General, was launched in 2002, and now has more than 700 local units throughout the United States and the Pacific.While the CGMRC recruits practicing, retired or otherwise employed medical, nursing, allied health, dental, public health, mental health and veterinary medicine volunteers, other non-health care volunteers are needed as well, to serve in support roles.According to Mears, the Medical Reserve Corps program started after 9/11.“You had all these people that showed up wanting to help, stating that they were a doctor or a nurse, but no way to credential anyone,” Mears said.The local Georgia group has about 80 volunteers, but is always looking for more, including non-medical personnel who could assist with critical areas such as logistics, supply and file management.While the group is associated with crisis situations including 9/11 and hurricane Katrina, volunteers can be deployed for other needs, such as the recent mass flu shot inoculation in local school systems.The Introduction to Federal Deployment Training will train Mears in areas of medical and public health consequences of natural and man-made disasters. He will also participate in mass casualty drills.One important local result of Mears’ training will be his knowledge and experience with the federal stockpiles of medical equipment placed strategically around the country after hurricane Katrina. This equipment can be deployed within 48 hours of an incident, but it is important to have someone who knows how to receive that equipment and establish shelters.“He will have increased knowledge that he can bring back,” said Karen Ebey-Tessendorf, emergency preparedness director for the North Central Health District. “I have found him to be an excellent people person. He can be a leader, but take direction well. He remains calm under pressure. He would be able to step in and lead a group and represent us very well.”