Bowling Green, OH – Northwest Ohio Public Information Officers, Jamie Gerken, of Defiance County General Health District, Joy Ermie, of Henry County Health Department, Megan Riley, of Williams County Health District and Jennifer Campos of Wood County Health District, recently completed training offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), in Anniston, Alabama. The CDP is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and is the only federally-chartered Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training facility in the nation.
The Advanced Public Information Officer Course prepared these Emergency Responders to apply knowledge and skills gained through lectures, facilitated discussion, activities and exercises to manage a Joint Information Center (JIC) in a healthcare emergency situation. “This training allowed us to participate in a mock emergency and emphasized the need for effective communication with the public during times of need. The skills learned in this course will help each of us to enhance relationships with our community partners and the media, to ensure these messages get delivered in a timely and professional manner should a crisis arise,” said Joy Ermie. “In addition to the knowledge that we gained from our instructors and the practical exercises, I feel that we gained a lot of confidence in our abilities. As a result of this training, each of us is better prepared and capable of handling the role of a PIO in not only our daily job duties, but that we are able to step up and serve our communities in a crisis situation,” said Jennifer Campos. Jamie Gerken added, “The training was also instrumental in creating relationships, not only locally, but across the country. A cornerstone of emergency preparedness is having colleagues who are ready to assist when needed.” “The relationships built at this training have certainly created a network of professionals who are willing to respond should a need in our region arise. I am confident that in the event of an emergency, Public Information Officers in Northwest Ohio will be able to work collaboratively and efficiently,” said Megan Riley.
The CDP develops and delivers advanced training for emergency response providers, emergency managers, and other government officials from state, local and tribal governments. The CDP offers more than 40 training courses focusing on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. Training at the CDP campus is federally funded at no cost to state, local and tribal emergency response professionals or their agency.
Resident training at the CDP includes healthcare and public health courses at the Noble Training Facility, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to training healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.
A number of resident training courses culminate at the CDP’s Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological (COBRA) Training Facility. The COBRA is the nation’s only facility featuring civilian training exercises in a true toxic environment using chemical agents. The advanced hands-on training enables responders to effectively prevent, respond to, and recover from real-world incidents involving acts of terrorism and other hazardous materials.
Responders participating in CDP training gain critical skills and confidence to respond effectively to local incidents or potential WMD events.