Kentucky first responders train for disaster scenarios

FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala., recently hosted approximately 80 healthcare and emergency responder professionals from Kentucky.

More than 30 different hospitals and organizations covering eight of Kentucky's 13 regional coalitions were represented by the professionals in attendance.

"They are not all hospital people," Dick Bartlett, the emergency preparedness and trauma coordinator for the Kentucky Hospital Association, said. "Some are health department, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, poison control center staff, floor nurses, patient care managers, emergency preparedness staff, emergency department managers and even maintenance staff. It is a very diverse group."

The Kentucky contingent attended one of three courses based on their disciplines - Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents, Hospital Emergency Response Training, or Emergency Medical Operations for Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological, and Explosives.

The classes were taught at Noble Training Facility, the only hospital in the U.S. dedicated solely to training healthcare professionals for mass casualty responses.

The CDP class worked in conjunction with students attending the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, Md., more than 700 miles away. The CDP class, which learned field response, worked in tandem with EMI and its incident command courses, allowing the two centers to cover all of the needs of a community emergency response.

Bartlett began the large-scale exercise last year with more than 140 emergency managers, physicians, nurses, public health officials and emergency medical staff from Pennsylvania taking part in the course.