The Weslaco Fire Department has taken a proactive approach to preparedness in our City and surrounding areas. In 2007, we started the Rio Grande Valley Medical Reserve Corps. This program is designed to pre-train and pre-screen medical and non-medical volunteers to respond during an emergency. This team was started as part of our Emergency Medical Regional Response Team, that was create to take care of all large scale and mass casualty medical or trauma related events across the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas. Our volunteers are being trained in the National Incident Management System classes as well as Strategic National Site Training.
Our Firefighter/Paramedics had been invited by Homeland Security to be subject matter experts in the Community Emergency Response Team courses. We felt that this class was great for our community so the Weslaco Fire Department now coordinates these courses. This class prepares citizens to first, prepare themselves and there family at home in an emergency such as a hurricane. CERT team members then "triage" their own neighborhoods, checking on their neighbors and providing care if needed. This course will teach the student basic fire extinguisher operations and how to put out a small fire, medical treatment and how to set up a triage area, how to identify hazardous materials and terrorist incidents, and much, much more. Our teenagers in our community have really thrived on this course. So much so that we actually started a unit for just them.
We realized that we needed to start training the future of emergency preparedness so the RGV Youth Preparedness was created. Last year, from June 19 - 23, 2016, we had our first RGV Youth Preparedness Camp. We had 6 teams that consisted of 9 youth and 1 adult that stayed at the camp the entire week. The camp consisted of 3 major components. First, all youth and adult sponsors were certified in CERT. Second, all youth learned the leadership skills that we use for small and large scale emergencies. Third, each team had to create and develop a community action plan to take back an implement in their own communities. The camp was a huge success. The best part is that the camp was FREE and we all had a ton of fun while learning skills that will help them the rest of their lives. to join us next year, go to www.rgvyouthpreparedness.com
The Weslaco Fire Department partnered with the American Red Cross to do the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. The goal of this project is to decrease the number of fire injuries and deaths by 25% over the next 5 years. We are in year 2 and have visited over 300 homes and installed over 450 smoke alarms for FREE. This project was done with the help of over 200 volunteers from the RGV Medical Reserve Corps, RGV CERT, and RGV Teen CERT. This is an ongoing project.
The Vial of Life has been implemented by the Weslaco Fire Department as a tool to help save lives. The programs consists of filling out a very detailed form with a medication list, previous medical history, allergies,etc. Once that form is complete, it is placed in a prescription pill bottle and then into the butter dish of the refrigerator. We then place a decal on the front door to show that the household is a participant in the Vial of Life program. The purpose of having this information available is in case a patient is unconscious or confused, Emergency Medical Services will have a means to find our life saving information to not only treat the patient but also transport them to the appropriate hospital.
To volunteer for our programs, send us an email at:
RGVMRC@weslacotx.gov or RGVCERT@weslacotx.gov or you may also call 956-447-3415.
119 East 5th St
Weslaco, Texas 78596