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Posted by: Public Affairs
We’ve featured many posts on this blog about FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, our one-of-a-kind facility that offers civilians and other members of the emergency management team specialized training in dealing with and responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons. We have heard from the Mayor of Pacific, Washington, who recently completed a training course and gained a better understanding of the challenges his first responders face and about a New York City police officer whose CDP training helped him think quickly and save lives while thwarting the attempted car bombing in Times Square in 2010.
Well this week, Administrator Fugate traveled to CDP to tour these training facilities first hand – and thank the men and woman who provide this unique training.
Whether it was witnessing an exercise that trains hospital and health care professionals for how to deal with overwhelmed emergency rooms after a disaster or watching students get trained on how to respond to toxic chemical agents, it’s clear that the skills and instincts students learn at CDP make an enormous difference in real world situations.
After touring the different facilities and watching a number of different training exercises, Administrator Fugate had the chance to meet with the staff. As Craig told them, there is a tendency to think about the Center for Domestic Preparedness as just a training institute for terrorism. It’s not. CDP trains the team for dealing with complex situations and environments. It’s about developing critical thinking and skills that can be transferrable across all kinds of disasters, whether natural or manmade.
The staff at CDP are building and training people for the worst-case, nightmare scenarios, the “Maximum of Maximums” that you often hear Craig talk about. These are scenarios that we hope will never happen – but we don’t have the luxury of not preparing for them.
We hope that the students who come to CDP will never actually face the same scenarios they experience here, but if they do they will be ready. And that’s thanks to their top-notch trainers. CDP staff are highly experienced in their respective fields and they play a critical role in training and strengthening the emergency management team, from local officials to emergency room and hospital workers to volunteer community response teams. Their classes will continue to have a mass multiplier effect in saving lives and protecting communities around the country.
We’d love to hear your story about how training made a difference in an emergency. Share your story in the comments below.