The CDP teamed up with the Government of Puerto Rico May 29-June 1 to train nearly 100 of the territory’s emergency and healthcare workers to respond to mass casualty incidents.

The center went on the road to the Ramón Ruiz Arnau Hospital in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and conducted its Health Care Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents and Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents courses. The training prepares emergency responders and healthcare workers to respond effectively to incidents involving hazardous materials.

The three days of lectures and exercises culminated in an all-hazards, mass casualty field exercise where students practiced what they learned in class. This included operating an emergency treatment area to triage contaminated ambulatory and non-ambulatory patients.

The CDP courses were conducted at the request of the Government of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health and the territory’s Emergency Management Agency.

“There is no substitute for hands-on training when it comes to emergency preparedness,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Byrne, who is in charge of response and recovery operations in Puerto Rico. “This exercise will remain in the memories of those who participated for years to come.”

Puerto Rico continues to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. As part of that process, FEMA (including the CDP and the Emergency Management Institute), numerous Government of Puerto Rico agencies, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the University of Puerto Rico have combined forces to bolster the island’s emergency response capability and capacity through a series of health care response emergency management activities, starting with the CDP courses.

“The CDP is focused on helping communities across the U.S. and its territories strengthen their preparedness to respond to a wide range of natural and man-made disasters. This is yet one demonstration of how we respond to calls from our partners for critical, timely training,” said Tony Russell, CDP Superintendent.

CDP personnel spent months planning and preparing for the training, working with partners in Puerto Rico to register students, arrange venues and translate all course documents in to Spanish.