Local Responders Attend Homeland Security Training

Five responders representing Cascade City-County Health Department, the City of Great Falls, Great Falls Fire Rescue, and Great Falls Emergency Services recently completed the Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents course at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama. The course covered healthcare and emergency management roles and responsibilities in disaster, resource management and distribution, the decision-making processes during an all-hazards disaster involving mass casualties, and the importance of collaboration among community agencies during emergency response and recovery.

Additionally, course participants took part in a functional exercise to practice the skills learned in the classroom. The exercise required participants to collaborate with other responders to provide patient care, make leadership decisions, protect public health and safety, and manage resources during a simulated mass casualty incident. “This was a very valuable experience that will help improve our community’s ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies,” said attendee Jill Boettcher, a Public Health Nurse with CCHD. “Now we all better understand our partner agencies’ roles and responsibilities, and that knowledge will help us coordinate planning efforts and provide more efficient responses to emergencies,” she added.

Great Falls Emergency Services Paramedic Michael Shell worked in the simulated Emergency Department during the course’s exercise. He earned the designation of “Star Student” from course instructors and exercise facilitators based on his demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and overall performance.

Other course attendees included CCHD Preparedness and Communications Assistant Janelle Olberding, City of Great Falls Emergency Manager Kristal Kuhn, and Great Falls Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Steve Hester.

The CDP is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. The intensive training offered by the CDP is federally funded and offered at no cost to local response agencies.