New Hampshire hospitals prepare for disasters at CDP

Approximately 50 healthcare professionals from hospitals in New Hampshire recently took a week of their time to train for disasters and other catastrophic events at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Center for Domestic Preparedness.

The healthcare workers represented 17 hospitals in 17 different New Hampshire communities as part of the NH Hospital Mutual Aid Network. The training helped to prepare them for mass-casualty events related to emergencies.

"The training here simulated a large-scale disaster that could happen in any community," Mike Melody, the director of safety and emergency preparedness at Concord Hospital, said. "This put into practice our efforts to be consistent with our coalition hospitals. Practice makes permanent and everybody got to practice the same way and learn identical information."

Deb Yeager, the director of emergency preparedness for the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said the training was initiated after a recommendation from a colleague in Pennsylvania, In April 2013, more than 140 Pennsylvania health workers attended emergency preparedness training at the CDP.

The CDP uses realistic exercise scenarios, modern equipment and modern procedures to prepare healthcare workers for incident management, mass-casualty response and emergency response to terrorist acts or natural disasters.

"The end-of-course exercise reinforced the learning previously in the week," Melody said. "This was a big confidence boost and gave us a chance to interface with many of the people we work with on regular basis. We also had the chance to learn from other hospitals across the U.S. and discuss best practices."

Training at the Anniston, Ala.-based CDP is fully funded by FEMA for state, local and tribal personnel.