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Pennsylvania's Volunteers Commended During 'National Volunteer Week'
Date:4/28/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In observation of "National Volunteer Week," Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today thanked volunteers across Pennsylvania for giving their time to ensure communities are prepared for natural and man-made disasters.

National Volunteer Week is April 27 through May 3.

"Volunteers are the foundation of any successful disaster response - from providing medical care and preparing meals to offering a sympathetic ear when someone just needs to talk," said Dr. Johnson. "Public health disasters can occur anywhere, at any time, and Pennsylvanians are urged to lend a hand in making sure that we are ready to respond."

National Volunteer Week also encourages Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds, professions and skills to give one of the greatest gifts they can - their time.

Individuals interested in giving their time in response to emergency situations in Pennsylvania can sign up as volunteers through the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Pennsylvania, or https://www.servpa.state.pa.us/. Established last year in response to a federal mandate to improve the nation's disaster response capability, SERVPA is a one-stop shop for volunteers.

The registry's comprehensive, standardized Web site manages up-to-date registration information, ensures a proper vetting process of individuals who sign up, and keeps track of potential deployment of volunteers to serve disaster-affected communities when needed. There are no training, educational or professional requirements, and there is no obligation to respond to an emergency if called.

SERVPA's key features include:

-- Collection and validation of identity, credentials, licenses and other

important information;

-- Coordination of preparedness planning;

-- Activation and deployment of volunteers, including the initial

notification, polling for availability, and assignment tasking;

-- Tracking participants on deployment;

-- Matching databases with organizations who can manage its own members or

groups within the SERVPA Web site; and

-- Responding to requests for emergency assistance from other states.

"SERVPA will soon become the sole registry used to activate volunteers for state-declared emergencies in Pennsylvania," Dr. Johnson said. "That makes it even more crucial for Pennsylvanians to get involved before disasters occur."

SERVPA is coordinated through the Office of Public Health Preparedness, which supports the Pennsylvania Department of Health's efforts to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from all acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.

For more information about SERVPA, visit http://www.serv.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH. To learn more about health preparedness for Pennsylvanians, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us.

CONTACT: Penny Kline

(717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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