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Emergency Responders Getting Homeland Security Training

Course completed in Alabama

Emergency responder Christopher S. Duniphin, chief nursing officer at Skyline Hospital, recently completed Homeland Security training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala.

The CDP is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is the only federally-chartered "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) training facility in the nation.

Health care and public health training is conducted at the CDP's Noble Training Facility, the nation's only hospital facility dedicated to training hospital and health care professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

Many of the training courses culminate at the CDP's Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological Training Facility, the nation's only facility featuring civilian training exercises in a true toxic environment, using chemical agents. The advanced hands-on training enables responders to effectively prevent, respond to, and recover from real-world incidents involving acts of terrorism and other hazardous materials.

Duniphin said the training has been very beneficial.

"We need training to further prepare ourselves. Our EMS (emergency medical services) crew has taken training, and all the training is paid for by the federal government," Duniphin said.

Duniphin explained that the program helps prepare Skyline personnel for any of a number of possible emergency events, whether a wildlife, winter storms, power outages, earthquake, or an Amtrak derailment.

Responders attending CDP training are selected from the nation's 11 million emergency responders. Training at the CDP ensures that responders gain critical skills and confidence to be better prepared to effectively respond to local incidents or potential WMD incidents.

"It's based on likely emergency and multiple casualty events," Duniphin said. "We've been working with the Department of Health, Klickitat County Sheriff's Office, and local FEMA in development of emergency-based plans. The hope is to have a community-wide annual event with scenarios based on hazards and a vulnerability assessment."

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

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