Colorado Hospital Association Benefits from CDP Training, Better Prepared
The Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents course at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness provides healthcare professionals necessary knowledge to generate appropriate decisions following a disaster or mass casualty event. Deborah French, the director of emergency preparedness for the Colorado Hospital Association recently found out first-hand how training makes a difference in preparedness.
“I’ve been working in public health and healthcare for more than 25 years, and this was one of the better professional learning experiences I’ve ever had,” French said. “I learned a lot. I started to put into practice applications that I have been reading about for years.”
The Colorado Hospital Association, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and other community partners, is responsible for implementation of Colorado’s Hospital Preparedness Program. The association works with the state to improve healthcare emergency responses through effective all-hazards planning, coordination and collaboration with more than 90 hospitals and preparedness partners.
“I feel a lot more prepared now for a mass-casualty type event,” French said. “I think there is book knowledge, and we can complete all the tests we want, but until you experience it, you don’t understand. You can read about all this, but until you go through this training, it is hard to visualize. The hands-on training was very worthwhile.”
French said she plans to take her newfound knowledge back to Colorado and encourage hospital administrators and other senior level management to attend training. She said the course provided the practical application she had been missing and presented the tools and experience to understand the requirements during a disaster.
“This training is superior, because you actually get to put into place what you have been learning,” she added. “It is hard to train like this at home because we can’t shut down our hospitals to train—this is really valuable. Another piece of this is the networking opportunities we have with other students. There are students here with all different levels of knowledge and I have a lot of people across the country I can call now.”
French added that the training will assist her not only in planning, but in improving the programs already in place in her state.
“It establishes a frame of reference for developing plans to make sure we are prepared and developing a resiliency within our communities. If we are not prepared, we cannot serve our communities. That is why we exist in the first place.”
The CDP training focuses on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. Healthcare courses are provided at the Noble Training Facility. The former U.S. Army hospital was converted into a training site for health and medical education in disasters and mass casualty events. It serves as the only hospital in the U.S. dedicated solely to training. FEMA fully funds CDP training for state, local, and tribal responders.