Southwestern College paramedic students participate in emergency response training

Students from Southwestern College in San Diego, Calif., recently participated in the Technical Emergency Response Training for CBRNE Incidents (TERT) course at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala.

The multi-disciplinary TERT course trained the 24 students in emergency response areas including healthcare, law enforcement and fire service. The training is one of many at the CDP that allows responders to train in a nerve-agent and biological-material environment.

“Anyone who says the U.S. isn’t preparing or training to respond to a biological
or chemical event, I’d say is wrong,” Brad Whitman, a Southwestern student who participated in the program, said. “I’ve taken a lot of classes before this, and this course is real training and experience.”

Students in the TERT course train at the CDP’s Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological (COBRA) facility. The COBRA facility allows participants to have a hands-on training experience with toxic agents, including anthrax and ricin, which were used at the facility for the first time in 2012.

“There is training for a biological response and it is hands-on and detailed,” Loretta Contreras, an instructor with Southwestern, said. “We try to train for this threat as best we can, but here are the experts. All the students have said their eyes are more open and they are more alert after this week. It was excellent training. We’re more confident. We’re all more solid because of this.”