Center for Domestic Preparedness News Roundup July 2019

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July 02, 2019
This product contains select stories written by and about the Center for Domestic Preparedness during the preceding month.

If you would like to learn about CDP news as it happens, consider ‘friending’ us on Facebook. Select stories are also posted throughout the month on the CDP web site at

In this issue:
• Center welcomes new Deputy Superintendent
• CDP to be featured in national publication
• CDP preps responders for 2020 Republican National Convention
• Students wearing new protective suits
• CDP hosts Complex Coordinated Attack Theme Week
• CDP alum lauds training, says it helped him deal with traumatic experiences
• CDP unveils ‘new’ Emergency Operations Center
• CDP completes massive kitchen expansion

We welcome your comments about this product. Email Rick Brewer at or Wendi Feazell at

Center welcomes new Deputy Superintendent

The Center for Domestic Preparedness has a new Deputy Superintendent. Christopher Chesney comes to the CDP from Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, where he served as Director of the United States Army’s CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity – a subordinate, all-civilian organization under the 20th CBRNE Command.

Prior to that assignment, Chesney was the Chief of Current Operations and Plans at the 20th CBRNE Command. Other key assignments include Chief of Staff of the United States Army CBRN School at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, and Battalion Commander at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, CO.

Chesney holds a Master’s in Business Administration in Aviation from Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2013 after 24 years of military service.

CDP to be featured in national publication

The CDP will be featured in the July issue of the American Journal of Disaster Medicine.

An article titled ‘The evolution of healthcare disaster preparedness and response training at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness’ explains how the CDP, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is using a multiagency or -organization approach to improve existing and develop new healthcare courses focused on emergency resilience, preparedness, response and recovery.

The article is co-authored by CDP Superintendent Tony Russell, Training and Education Director Denis Campeau, and Instructional System Specialists Roy Marlow and Sondra Singleton, along with two HHS representatives, and representatives from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Emergency Medicine and Jacksonville State (AL) University’s Department of Emergency Management.

According to its website, the journal provides physicians and medical professionals around the globe ‘the latest research and essential informational tools they need … to manage the complexities of emergency medical and trauma skills with crisis management in a mass casualty environment.’

The journal is published nine times a year.

CDP preps responders for 2020 Republican National Convention

More than 70 law enforcement specialists from North Carolina attended CDP non-resident training June 3-7 to enhance their skills in advance of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte.

The responders participated in Field Force Operations Training, where they learned how to safely and effectively control crowds and demonstrations. The training was conducted at Charlotte’s Police and Fire Academy on the south side of the city.

The training is important since Charlotte expects the convention in late August to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Spectrum Center, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and other venues in the area.

The training is also nothing new for the CDP. The Center routinely supports states and local jurisdictions and helps them ‘bridge their capability gaps’ as they prepare to host National Special Security Events such as Republican and Democratic National conventions, presidential inaugurations, and the Super Bowl. National Special Security Events draw large crowds and television audiences, and are considered by the Department of Homeland Security to be prime targets for terrorism or other criminal activity.

This training was only a fraction of that the CDP has provided to responders from North Carolina the past couple of years, some in direct preparation for the convention.

Since the start of 2018, the Center has delivered training to nearly 2,400 responders from the state. The training has been conducted not only at sites across North Carolina but at the CDP campus in Anniston, AL, and it has involved responders from a range of disciplines, from law enforcement officers and medical specialists to firefighters and emergency managers.

Students wearing new protective suits
Students attending select courses at the CDP’s COBRA (Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological) Training Facility are now outfitted with Blauer XRT suits when they train here.

The Blauer XRT suits replace the military JSLIST (Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology) suits that students had worn for years. Civilian agencies can easily acquire Blauer XRT suits. JSLIST suits are typically available only to military personal.

“We wanted to give our students confidence in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) their home agencies can procure,” John Blandamer, COBRATF Operations Manager, said of the change.

In anticipation of the transition, CDP instructors and support staff trained on the Blauer XRT ensemble for months. The training included how to properly don (put on) and doff (take off) the suit, as well as how to properly size it for students.

The CDP offers the only civilian training courses in the nation featuring live chemical agents such as GB and VX, and biological materials such as ricin and anthrax. Training with the substances increases responders’ confidence to deal with toxic materials during a real-world incident or attack.

In a typical year, approximately 2,500 responders train at the COBRA facility.

CDP hosts Complex Coordinated Attack Theme Week

The Center for Domestic Preparedness hosted its 2019 Complex Coordinated Attack Theme Week June 10-14 on its campus in Anniston, AL.

The intent of the week is to enhance emergency responders’ ability to respond to attacks designed to disrupt or overwhelm response agencies, such as an active shooter coupled with the release of hazardous materials.

The week included ‘Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response’ and ‘Critical Decision-making for Complex Coordinated Attacks’ courses offered on site by Louisiana State University’s Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education, as well the ‘Tactical Hazardous Materials Operations in Surface Transportation’ course, also on site, by the Association of American Railroads’ Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Colorado.

These courses were in addition to the CDP’s course offerings for the week – Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents and Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents.

The week was the second such theme week hosted by the CDP. The Center conducted its inaugural Complex Coordinated Attack Theme Week in 2018.

CDP alum lauds training, says it helped him deal with traumatic experiences

A respiratory therapist says the training he received in the CDP’s Emergency Medical Operations (EMO) course helped him deal emotionally with the loss of two children he was treating at Mercy Hospital in Mount Shasta, CA.

Brian Shirley said he had never lost a child in his 29 years as a respiratory therapist; he had always been able to resuscitate a patient, no matter the situation.

That changed within a few months of his training here. First, a nine-month-old succumbed. Six weeks later, a 13-month-old died.

Shirley said he was better prepared to deal with the deaths because his EMO course instructors repeatedly placed him in situations with infants who could not be saved. That forced him to accept deaths and to refocus his efforts on patients he can save.

“The training I received (at the CDP) helped me deal with the emotional challenge (of having a patient who dies),” he explained.

“I was better prepared for that hardship since I had practiced it here,” he added.

Shirley, who was at the CDP attending his second resident course – the Hospital Emergency Response Training or HERT course – was also complimentary of the Center’s training in general, noting that when experienced professionals come to the CDP “it speaks highly of the quality of instruction here.”

In addition, he said he encourages others to train at the CDP. That includes his son, Patrick, a fellow respiratory therapist.

Ironically, the younger Shirley attended EMO the following week.

CDP unveils ‘new’ Emergency Operations Center

Ken Spears isn’t hoping to have the CDP’s ‘new’ Emergency Operations Center baptized anytime soon. However, he says the EOC, which recently underwent an extensive renovation, is ready, should it need to spring into action.

“Everything (in the EOC) is operational and ready to go (for a real-world event),” said Spears, who manages the facility.

The center could previously seat 24. Following the two-month overhaul, it now seats 38.

The center previously had a single video display. It now has eight such displays.

That is in addition to 96 new network connections.

Spears said the new EOC is designed to give CDP senior leaders and others, such as transportation and security managers, plenty of room and easy access to information they need to efficiently coordinate a response to any number of incidents. That includes possible decisions to curtail or cancel training at the Center due to hazardous weather conditions.

“It’s all about ensuring the safety of everyone (students and staff) on campus,” he said.

CDP completes massive kitchen expansion

The CDP now has the capacity to feed more than 1,000 students three meals a day.

That is more than twice the number of students it could previously accommodate.

The increased capacity is the result of an extensive expansion of the primary kitchen at the Center, which is inside the Noble Training Facility. The kitchen had covered approximately 2,500 square feet. A recently completed $3.5 million project enlarged the kitchen to approximately 5,000 square feet.

The project also included the addition of state-of-the-art walk-in freezers and coolers, meal prep areas, and contemporary appliances.

Diners should see not only improvements in the food served but also the variety of meals on the menu, according to Chef George Wallace.

“These improvements (to the kitchen) provide us numerous options we didn’t have before,” he said.

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