Tennessee Hospitals Use HERT to Enhance Preparedness

Ten hospitals in Northeast Tennessee are one step closer to establishing mobile decontamination teams, thanks in large part to the training they recently completed at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala. The 10 facilities sent 37 employees to the CDP to participate in the center’s Hospital Emergency Response Training (HERT) course, which is designed to prepare hospitals to carry out safe and effective emergency medical responses to mass-casualty incidents.

The training the 37 employees received will be the basis for forming regional response teams trained specifically to provide mobile decontamination at each of the 10 hospitals in the state’s northeast healthcare region. “In the event of a disaster our hospitals may need the assistance of other sister hospitals,” said Brenda Greene, hospital coordinator for Northeast Tennessee. “Our Regional Response Teams will assist and provide a reserve of trained personnel. This training is exactly what we need to be more prepared.”

According to Greene, the 10 hospitals have found that staff attrition causes vulnerabilities and weaknesses in personnel continuity. Internal control measuresentified the need to increase the number of trained personnel on decontamination teams.

“Among our group this week are physicians, nurses, corporate directors, and safety and security personnel,” Greene said. “When we form our decontamination teams everyone will be involved, not just those directly related to healthcare. Hospitals need to include everyone like housekeeping, administrative staff, and even nutritionists when they form response teams – we all have a role.”

The HERT course requires hospital employees – i.e., anyone on the staff – to become familiar with decontamination procedures, which not only protect the employees and patients but also help protect a hospital from the cross-contamination that frequently occurs when disaster survivors enter a hospital before decontamination.

Incredible Training & Hands-On Experience “The HERT has changed my view from a firsthand experience,” said Rob Adams, director of safety, security, and emergency management for the Mountain States Health Alliance. “The hands-on training is incredible. Talking about it is one thing, but dressing in decontamination suits and actually functioning in high temperatures for more than two hours is another. I can take this knowledge back and speak from experience – this is how you do it, this is why you do it, and this is how it can save your life and the lives of others.”

The CDP training focuses on incident management, mass-casualty responses, and emergency responses to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. Healthcare courses are provided at the CDP’s Noble Training Facility (NTF), a former U.S. Army hospital that was converted into a training site for health and medical education in disasters and mass-casualty events and now serves as the only hospital in the United States dedicated solely to training.

CDP training for state, local, and tribal responders is fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a major branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’s mission is to support U.S. citizens and first responders “to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.”


If problems viewing the above CBP – Mass Casualty Traning Video, click link: http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/6126

Shannon Arledge

Shannon Arledge is a public affairs specialist at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. A retired Marine gunnery sergeant, he served in numerous public affairs/public information assignments during his 20 years on active duty, including tours of duty at Headquarters Marine Corps, the Defense Information School, and Marine Barracks Washington. He deployed twice to the Persian Gulf – in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom – as Public Affairs Chief for Marine Forces U.S. Central Command (Forward) and Public Affairs Chief for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. A graduate of the Defense Information School for Public Affairs and Visual Information, he also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Phoenix.



No tags to display


Translate »