FAIRBORN — The National Center for Medical Readiness, otherwise known as Calamityville, is hosting disaster training throughout the next week and it invites a variety of health professionals to be prepared in the face of an emergency situation that would impact an entire area.
“[The training is] The National Disaster Health Consortium, which is inter-professional disaster training that the [Wright State University] College of Nursing and Health does in collaboration with the National Center for Medical Readiness,” Training Director Sherry Farra said. “We have people come from all over the area in many different professions, such as nurses, doctors, EMTs, firefighters, security guards, plant managers [among others] come and train together on disaster leadership and disaster response skills.”
Health professionals pick up skills relating to basic first aid, carrying and evacuating individuals, decontamination, approaching helicopters, treating wounds that are not normally seen on the job, community health issues after disasters, using a tourniquet and loading non-emergency vehicles, such as vans, buses and trucks, otherwise known as “vehicles of opportunity.” The training invites disaster experts to lead the way as well as collaboration among community facilities, such as the Dayton VA, where participants learn to evacuate hospital patients.
Dan Kirkpatrick takes off his mayor’s hat and instead serves as a faculty member during the training, sharing the wisdom he picked up in his 34 years of service to the Air Force.
“In a major disaster like the Joplin (Missouri) tornado, there weren’t enough medics so other people had to get involved to help,” he said. “Just like most health professionals have minimal first aid training, they usually have even less disaster training — it’s teaching them how to be a basic disaster worker in a major disaster.”
The training starts long before the participants arrive to Calamityville as they start with a one-day disaster training preparedness course, in addition to 12 online modules that highlight the healthcare system across the board in disaster response situations. Students come from local hospital systems, such as Premier Health, Kettering Health Network and the University of Cincinnati, in addition to outside states. Training coordinator Diana Lewis said previous trainings have seen participants from eight respective states.
“We’re one of the few university’s in the country who have a facility like the National Center for Medical Readiness; we’re one of the few university’s with resident experts like Sherry [who has a] doctorate in disaster preparedness areas, so she is truly an expert and she’s on national panels,” Kirkpatrick said. “… We’ve had military and civilian students and faculty working, learning and teaching together, and that’s been a big part of it. Most university’s don’t offer anything like this. We’re very fortunate here, Wright State has had the foresight to say ‘we think this is important for this part of the country’ and so that’s why this facility exists.”
Participants also focus on bomb injuries, as Farra said those are different from any other type of medical ailment due to the pressure wave generated from the blast. She added that no individuals died following the initial blast at the Boston Marathon bombing because health professionals underwent similar training.
“In terms of our community, it brings us to a level of preparedness that most communities don’t have the opportunity to do,” Farra said. ” … We don’t want to scare people about things that could or would happen. We’re helping the healthcare workers be prepared. They get hands-on practice implementing preparedness. It’s been demonstrated over and over — the more prepared you are, the better you can respond.”
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.