For the first time, students from Lawson State Community College (LSCC), a historically Black college, attended training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), in Anniston, Ala., March 23.

Forty two senior-level nursing students traveled from their campus, located in Birmingham, Ala., to the CDP to attend the Incident Complexities Responder Actions (ICR) for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Incidents course.

The ICR course includes facilitated discussions, activities and case studies. Students are trained to identify hazardous materials, such as chemical agents, biological agents, radiological materials and explosive devices. The ICR course is currently being revised. It will be available later this year as the Healthcare Emergency Response Operations (HERO) course.

Lawson State’s is the newest nursing program to train at the CDP. Local student nurses have been training at the CDP for more than eight years. Students from Jacksonville State University, Jefferson State Community College, Gadsden State Community College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Augusta University and Samford University have all trained at the CDP.

Lawson State’s teachers learned of the training opportunities at the CDP from Gadsden State Community College. Dr. Perry W. Ward, LSCC president, heard of the positive experience Gadsden State students have had training at the CDP from Gadsden State’s president.

“Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State Community College, spoke to our president about the training,” said Shelia Marable, associate dean for Health Professions at LSCC. “And Dr. Ward thought it would be a good opportunity for our students.”

Lawson State staff visited the CDP, toured the facilities and discussed the possibility of their students training here. The college’s staff and faculty immediately scheduled their nursing students for the ICR course.

The ICR course is the second phase of a two-course training package. On the first day, a CDP mobile training team travels to the students’ campus to teach the Standardized Awareness Training (SAT) course. For LSCC the first day was held at their Birmingham campus. The SAT course is also undergoing revision and will be offered later in 2016 as the Emergency Medical Response Awareness (EMRA) course.

“The mobile training went extremely well,” said Marable. “The training helped the students be prepared for any disasters that may occur.”

This is the first time LSCC has participated in training at the CDP, but Marable, who has more than 33 years with LSCC, said that the school plans to participate in CDP training every year.

Alyssa Mullinux, one of the nursing student who took the ICR course, said she would definitely train at the CDP again.

“The training made me more aware of my surroundings,” said Mullinux. “I know what to look for when looking for possible threats.”

Mullinux, who graduates in May, said she’s never seen training like this before.

“It’s very interesting to see the possible threats that are out there,” Mullinux said. “The instructors were great and very knowledgeable.”

Another student, Julia Norfleet also, found the training helpful.

“The training gave me more insight into how to respond to a mass casualty event,” said Norfleet. “The fact that we could find ourselves in the middle of a mass casualty event really hit home for me. We now have a better idea of what we need to do in this situation.”

Overall, the Lawson State instructors and students said the CDP training was helpful.

“This training absolutely benefited our students,” said Marable. “I would definitely recommend this training to other nursing programs.”

The CDP training for the Lawson State students was fully funded by the Department of Homeland Security. CDP training for state, local, tribal and territorial responders is fully funded, to include travel, lodging and meals. For more information on CDP training, go to