The Niagara County Department of Health, which directs and coordinates the Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), has been awarded a $7,500 MRC Challenge Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in partnership with the Office of the Surgeon General.

The award will fund a project to help save lives during bleeding emergencies in response to the White House Stop the Bleed national awareness campaign and call to action.

“The selection process this year was very competitive and your (Niagara County Department of Health) project application demonstrated a commitment to excellence,” said Kathy Deffer, senior program analyst for NACCHO.

The Stop the Bleed initiative is intended to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

“Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, managed by the Niagara County Department of Health, are a key resource to building and sustaining community resiliency,” said Daniel Stapleton, public health director.

The project will focus on establishing more Stop the Bleed train-the-trainers in Niagara County as well as providing Stop the Bleed training to interested groups and organizations. Agencies or Organizations that complete the training will receive a bleeding control pack. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Stop the Bleed campaign, a person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Furthermore, those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care (according to DHS).

“Our local response efforts will be bolstered by ensuring onsite Stop the Bleed training and supplies,” said Elise Pignatora, director of public health planning and emergency preparedness.

The Niagara County Department of Health and Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps is partnering with the Erie County Department of Health and Erie County SMART Team as part of its ongoing collaborative to ensure enhanced bystander aid to trauma victims. The Niagara County Department of Health will serve as the project lead and fiduciary agent.

If your agency/organization is interested in receiving Stop the Bleed training, or would like information regarding this project, contact Elise Pignatora at 716-439-7431 or

If you are interested in becoming a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer and/or serving as a Stop the Bleed train-the-trainer for Niagara County, please contact Francisco Meza Aguero (Niagara County Medical Reserve Corp volunteer coordinator) by phone at 716-439-7436 or

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