Local firefighters attend Homeland Security training

Published 9:39 am Monday, May 7, 2012

Firefighter Brett Boss, from the Albert Lea Fire Department, and Chris Bergerson, from the Albert Lea Township Fire Department, recently completed training offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness, in Anniston, Ala. The Center for Domestic Preparedness is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and is the only federally-chartered weapons of mass destruction training facility in the nation.

Emergency responders decontaminate response personnel after leaving a contaminated building during a training exercise. The Center for Domestic Preparedness, in Anniston, Ala., instructs responders to determine their response, select required equipment, personal protective levels and decontamination procedures. -- Submitted

Boss has been to the Center for Domestic Preparedness three times while Bergerson has been two. Boss said the training gets him familiarized with all types of equipment for hazardous materials. He also is able to bring back material for the Albert Lea Fire Deptartment. The Center for Domestic Preparedness resident program trains responders to be more efficient, effective and operate safely, producing better responders ultimately strengthening communities. This course gave Boss and Bergerson the necessary tools to effectively identify hazards, assess threat potential, and determine containment and mitigation protocols concerning hazardous materials. First responders need to recognize the need for enhanced training regarding first response to hazardous materials. Whether it is from a chemical spill, train derailment or a terrorist attack. First responders must recognize the threat is real and their role is vital. Some of the training involves skills in identifying, detecting, categorizing and neutralizing hazardous substances, overview of international and domestic terrorist threats; seminars in chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive hazards that may be used as weapons of mass destruction.

The Center for Domestic Preparedness develops and delivers advanced training for emergency response providers, emergency managers, and other government officials from state, local, and tribal governments. The Center for Domestic Preparedness offers more than 50 training courses focusing on incident management, mass casualty response and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. Training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness campus is federally funded at no cost to state, local, and tribal emergency response professionals or their agency.

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Resident training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness includes healthcare and public health courses at the Noble Training Facility, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to training healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

A number of resident training courses culminate at the Center for Domestic Preparedness’s Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility. This is 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.

Responders participating in Center for Domestic Preparedness training gain critical skills and confidence to respond effectively to local incidents or potential weapons of mass destruction events.

Information about Center for Domestic Preparedness training programs can be found at http://cdp.dhs.gov.