The Prince Georges County (Md.) Fire and Emergency Medical Service Training Academy attended training at FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) recently. The academy sent 25 firefighter-medic recruits to attend the Emergency Responder Hazardous Materials Technician for CBRNE Incidents (ERHM) course. Earlier this year, 15 recruits from the same class participated in equivalent training.
"The CDP provides the recruits with vital information and a gateway for the title of 'Hazardous Materials Technician'," said Wilson. "This training provides the recruits with an extra level of knowledge that will be put to use to save citizens, fellow firefighters or themselves. Firefighting is inherently dangerous but knowledge is the great equalizer."
The ERHM course provides a hands-on experience in identifying hazardous materials, using advanced survey and monitoring equipment, selecting appropriate levels of personal protection, and performing decontamination procedures, to include evidence preservation. The course introduces response personnel to the terrorist threat, the hazardous materials management system, responder health and safety, the Incident Command System (ICS), site management, information management, response objectives, and terminating the incident.
"I never thought I'd train like this," said Ryan Roberts, firefighter-medic recruit. "Firefighters collecting and preserving evidence is something we don't practice every day. But, I understand why we need to be trained to respond to events differently. This course is going to help all of us. The CDP provided realistic scenarios and scenes. We could literally visualize actual hazardous spills."
"The hands-on [training] has been helpful," said Brittany Frankenfield, firefighter medic recruit. "The training is in-depth and advanced. We've had discussions regarding hazardous materials from other HAZMAT technicians, but after being here, and doing it, now I feel like I am more familiar. CDP training reinforced everything we've been learning."
Among the many courses offered at the CDP for emergency response personnel, ERHM is a five-day class providing responders with a combination of lectures and advanced hands-on practical exercises. ERHM provides the necessary training to prepare response personnel to tackle hazardous incidents.
"Not only is the CDP a great place to train, these soon-to-be firefighter-medics have been introduced to a learning resource they can use after graduation," said Lt. David Wilson Sr., from the Fire and EMS Training Academy. "We have more than 30 recruits from a different course scheduled for training over the next several weeks. We intend to incorporate CDP training into all future courses."
This recruit class graduates in early December and each recruit will be notified soon the location of their first assignment. The CDP is a component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. CDP training focuses on incident management and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. The courses are fully funded for state, local, and tribal response personnel.
To learn more about the Center for Domestic Preparedness, visit http://cdp.dhs.gov or call 866-213-9553.