East Tennessee State University nursing students receive bioterror training

On Wednesday, March 23, a group of nursing students received a crash course in bioterrorism response during a two hour conference hosted at East Tennessee State University and run by the Johnson City Fire Department.

The fire department had been given equipment by the Department of Homeland Security to participate as first responders dealing with chemical, biological and other unknown agents, TriCities.com reports.

“Terrorism always being in our minds and what that entails, this is the equipment that we’ve got in Johnson City to keep us safe,” Sgt. Andy Caldwell said, TriCities.com reports. “And so what we’re doing is taking this equipment and showing it off and letting people know, to teach the nursing students that might be involved with those patients,”

Several nursing students put on Hazmat suits during the conference to practice response efforts and decontamination.

“It gives you the perspective of what’s going on in the field, maybe before your patients come to you and it lets you also know that there’s a possibility that this could happen,” Lucas Blair, a senior nursing student said, according to TriCities.com.

After recent worldwide events like the Japan earthquake and tsunami, these students realized the importance of being prepared as first responders.

“Japan, you know, people aren’t wanting to go as much because they’re afraid of the radiation exposure where there wasn’t that scare in Haiti,” Lauren Kidd, a senior nursing student, said, TriCities.com reports.

The event was the first bioterrorism conference for nursing students to ever be held at East Tennessee State University.