Middlebury–During the week of November 14th, healthcare professionals from across Vermont, including 12 staff members from Porter Medical Center, will be traveling to a national emergency preparedness training facility in Anniston, Alabama under a federally-funded program to train at the “Center for Domestic Preparedness” (CDP).
In 1998, the Center for Domestic Preparedness opened its doors as a training center for the nation’s emergency responders. The CDP’s interdisciplinary training courses promote greater understanding among the following diverse responder disciplines: Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Service, Hazardous Materials, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Public Health and Public Safety Communications. In 2007, the Noble Training Facility (NTF) was integrated into the CDP training center; Noble is a former Army Hospital which was converted to a training site for health and medical education in disasters. It is the only hospital facility in the United States dedicated solely to training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.
“We are excited to be taking advantage of this week-long training at the CDP, side-by-side with other Vermont colleagues from both UVMHN and small community hospitals like Porter, which will allow us to achieve greater coordination and consistency among all of our hospitals,” Hallman said.
According to PMC spokesperson, Ron Hallman, more than half of Vermont hospitals are sending representatives to this federally-funded training program, including clinical, support and administrative staff. At the beginning of the five day course, employees will select one of two courses based on their skill sets: the Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents (HCL) or the Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents (HERT).
“Some potential issues that all Vermont hospitals face include hazardous material incidents from train or truck accidents, as well as industrial accidents. We also have to contend with nor’easters and ice storms that have wiped out power in some areas for days at a time,” he said. “Continuous training is important on site, and Porter does that throughout the year via disaster drills, but our goal for next week at the CDP is to learn from others in our state, learn about emerging issues and maybe help us as leaders to think outside of the box,” he said.
Porter’s 12 team members will train in different roles: Incident Commanders, Emergency Department nurses, logistics chiefs, decontamination team members and as a public information officer.
“During emergency situations we often deal with challenges we don’t normally have to face during our day to day work. Our Porter team will have a change to work closely throughout the week with staff members from other Vermont hospitals as well as the experts at CDP,” Hallman said.
The Vermont representatives will finish their respective classes on Thursday of next week. On Friday, they will put their training to the test during the Integrated Capstone Event or ICE. The ICE combines multiple courses in a final culminating exercise that promotes an interdisciplinary response to a simulated mass casualty incident. During the ICE, the students will be challenged with realistic scenarios in which role players, human patient simulators and mannequins portrayed survivors of a mass casualty incident.
The exercise will be carried out in various training venues including the CDP’s indoor street scene, subway and at the Noble Training Facility.
A former student from New Hampshire who took this course last year summarized her experience this way: “It’s just cool that we have a real hospital that we can train in. Very rarely can we bring someone in, decontaminate them, triage them and do the whole gamut. We can’t train like that at our local medical center. Training at the CDP is a great team-building experience. I think everyone should avail themselves of the opportunity.”