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Known for offering extensive hands-on training in mass casualty response, the Emergency Medical Operations (EMO) for CBRNE Incidents course provides first response personnel serving in a variety of positions the necessary skills to perform during an emergency or catastrophic event.
EMO is offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, AL, an agency that focuses its training on incident management and mass casualty response to manmade or natural disasters.
The EMO course was established in 2005 and provides healthcare emergency personnel, as well as firefighters, law enforcement and other responders who may respond to a healthcare incident, the knowledge, confidence and specialized skills to respond during a mass casualty emergency.
EMO is designed to simulate a hazardous materials response, including treatment of multiple survivors exposed to potential chemical, biological or radiological hazards.
Tools for Learning
“The EMO course is very informative and interactive,” says Beth Fletcher, EMT. “I didn’t know anything about hazardous material medical response until I came here. I know a lot more now, and I am more comfortable and feel confident in what I’m doing.”
Dan Bledsoe, a fire captain with 27 years of service, wasn’t sure what to expect from the EMO course. He said learning never stops, regardless of experience.
“I figured I had seen it all and done it all,” says Bledsoe. “After the first day of training I found I was wrong. In one week here you can pick up so much knowledge, and I feel this will benefit a person’s career. I enjoyed the team aspect. We were overwhelmed with patients and this course provided us all an opportunity to work with total strangers. It gave some a chance to practice leadership and others a chance to be a functioning member of a team with people you have never worked with before.”
“The objective of the course is to take emergency personnel and give them an opportunity to train in a hazardous environment with mass casualties,” says John Skinner, EMO course manager. “EMO provides a chance to work in the warm zone, as well as the cold zone, and move patients to the hospital.”
Students attending EMO wear appropriate levels of PPE while providing medical care and conduct decontamination, triage, treatment, transport and tracking survivors of a CBRNE incident or a mass casualty incident.
The CDP recently initiated the Integrated Capstone Event (ICE) into training. The ICE is currently conducted once per quarter and allows courses like EMO to integrate with other training during a large-scale, end-of-week exercise combining multiple courses.
Improved Training Venues
“Over the past year we have evolved the EMO course to include more information for the emergency responder,” says Charles Platt, who is the lead healthcare instructor. “We enhanced the training environment using didactic training methods that provide students a hands-on approach, reinforcing the lecture material presented in the classroom.”
The CDP training staff has enhanced several programs to include EMO. The course now offers students an opportunity to experience multiple scenarios in lifelike settings and environments depicting both common and not-so-common emergencies found in a variety of jurisdictions.
“We have the ability to bring responders from all different disciplines and demonstrate how vital the EMS role is during an emergency event,” says instructor Richard Barrett. “We are able to demonstrate to first responders what they can expect in the field. We also show the smallest EMS department up to the largest EMS department how we all work together to accomplish the end goal of getting survivors from the scene all the way to the hospital.”
Beneficial to All Levels of Response