As Reported in the Anniston Star: CDP hosts disaster-training symposium

Posted on Dec. 14, 2014

As Reported in the Anniston Star: CDP hosts disaster-training symposium

Visitors to the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston on Wednesday walked through a simulated subway accident, while others attempted to find and mitigate a mock radiological attack. 

The visitors were taking part in the National State Administrative Agency Symposium, which began Tuesday and is set to wrap up Thursday.

Officials from government agencies in 39 states, four territories and the District of Columbia are taking part in the training session, organized by the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, a nationwide network of training and research facilities.

Karl Kim, director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and chairman of the consortium, said those at the symposium are state agents who certify first responders to take part in the many free training classes through consortium member programs.

“This really is about demonstrating the training and capacity building that is available through the seven members of the consortium,” Kim said.

The consortium is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Through its member programs, the consortium trained more than 35,000 first responders from across the nation in Alabama between June 1998 and June 2014, according to the agency’s website.  The consortium has trained more than 2 million nationwide since 1998.

“We all gather every two years here in Anniston and all show off the latest training that we’ve developed — the latest new courses that are available to help build the preparedness of our nation,” Kim said.

Each of the consortium’s seven member universities and agencies focus on different aspects of emergency preparedness. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology specializes in training first responders on explosives, while Louisiana State University holds classes on biological hazards and the University of Hawaii focuses on natural disasters.

“We work very closely as a group to ensure that we are developing and delivering the right training to the right people,” Kim said.

James Burke, associate director for course development and course delivery with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, demonstrated for reporters Wednesday how trainers used mock social media platforms to simulate the unfolding of a natural disaster. That simulation advertised for attendees the center’s 10 available training courses, Burke explained.

This year marks the third such symposium held at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, said the center’s spokeswoman, Lisa Hunter. The three-day sessions are a great way to advertise all those courses, and for the many state agents to practice working together in emergencies.

Kim said he hopes attendees at the symposium leave Anniston with a better understanding of the training available.

“And how that training can be used to improve and increase the safety and security of their communities,” Kim said.

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