California first responders train for disasters at CDP

Twenty-three healthcare professionals, first responders and public health workers from Napa County, California, recently trained together on how to respond to mass casualty incidents, according to the county's Health and Human Services Agency.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for the Napa County first responders to attend the January Health Care Leadership disaster training and exercises offered by the Anniston, Ala.-based Center for Domestic Preparedness. During the training, the attendees learned how to alert the community to dangers and resources, treat the injured and activate emergency response plans.

The Napa County responders were part of approximately 100 healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials and firefighters on hand from throughout the U.S. between January 13 and January 17. During a four-hour final exercise, the trainees joined together in the fictional Liberty County public health department in a simulated disaster involving more than 30 role-players and dozens of interactive teaching mannequins.

Ty Becerra, the fire captain for Napa City, Calif., said his city's fire department was glad it attended the training with other Napa County representatives.

"The training was great, as it sharpened our skills as emergency responders and helped us be better prepared for a disaster of any kind in our county," Becerra said.

Nancy Hiteshew, a registered nurse who worked in the emergency department during the exercise, said the training helped her to learn who her community partners were and how all involved coordinate their roles during a disaster.

"We need to review our emergency operations plans, make sure everyone knows what to do during a disaster and continue to work with our community partners in disaster trainings and exercises," Hiteshew said.

The CDP is a facility used to train health and medical education in disasters, including natural disasters and terrorism.