“The CTOS support and training has been outstanding.”— A senior official with the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
In June of this year, CTOS conducted training in support of a Mass Fatality Management Exercise (MFM), specifically focused on radiologically contaminated decedents. The exercise was sponsored by the New York City’s (NYC) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).
It is one of those things not often discussed when it comes to emergency management planning of large scale events — dealing with the dead —more specifically, those contaminated with radioactive material. But that is exactly what the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (RCPT), comprised of members from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, did earlier this year at the U.S. Army’s Fort Hamilton facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Working with regional partners, the New York City’s OCME sponsored a Mass Fatality Management exercise that dealt with this challenging issue head on. In support of this daunting and complex exercise, the Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS) Program, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Management and Operations Contractor NSTec, conducted a PER-240 WMD Radiological/Nuclear Responder Operations Course. This 24-hour course is hands-on, exercise-based and is conducted via Mobile Training Team (MTT) using radiation detection and survey equipment, and real radioactive sources.
Attended by dozens of federal, state, and local response organizations, the exercise raised the ominous question of how to prepare for and deal with an estimated 160,000 fatalities from the detonation of an improvised nuclear device in New York City. Undoubtedly, those contaminated with radioactive material create an even more complex issue for the regions Medical Examiners (ME) and their staffs. The solution is to train the MEs and their staffs on how to deal with contaminated decedents. This is where the CTOS Mobile Training Team comes into the picture.
Concurrent with the exercise, the CTOS MTT delivered the WMD Radiological/Nuclear Responder Operations course, which culminates in a final exercise specifically tailored to the agency’s mission. CTOS combined the final training scenario with the unique objectives of this intense two-day exercise. The objectives were to activate and deploy the Regional Mass Fatality Management Response System, establish fatality management command and control, the recovery/investigative scene, disaster morgue, and a Family Assistance Center (FAC), in response to a catastrophic mass fatality incident. To accomplish this, CTOS conducted exercises at both the disaster scene and the field morgue.
CTOS personnel were instrumental in setting up the victims at the accident scene by placing mannequins with real radioactive sources attached to simulate radiological contamination. CTOS instructors provided oversight with radiological controls, assisted with issuing dosimeters, and provided expert advice and general command and control of the radiological component of recovery efforts during the exercise. The unique mission of the OCME and the expertise and experience of the CTOS instructional staff contributed directly to the success of the exercise.
CTOS conducts Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded and certified training at no cost to all state, local, and tribal responders. CTOS is fully funded through an interagency agreement among the DHS; Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA), National Training and Education Division (NTED); and the DOE NNSS. All classes offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) authorized through the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). More information about CTOS and our available training can be found at www.ctosnnsa.org.
Training is delivered via resident courses conducted in Nevada using the unique resources of the NNSS, the MTT delivered courses conducted at jurisdictions throughout the country and U.S. territories, and web training via the CTOS Web Campus. All CTOS instructor-led courses, except our Rad/Nuc WMD Awareness Course, are exercise-based and use radiation detectors and survey equipment along with real radioactive sources to deliver the most realistic training.
Attending CTOS training could not be easier. For resident training, CTOS will cover the travel costs including airfare, per diem, and lodging in addition to the free training. To attend, contact the CTOS Registration Desk at 877-963-2867 and our registration team will help you with everything you need to attend the training.
If your agency wishes to host training at its own facility, all we require is that you provide the classroom and minimum student count. CTOS will bring the equipment and a cadre of instructors and support staff to conduct the course. The CTOS Mobile Training Coordinator will help you with all the details, and if needed, help you decide which courses are most applicable based on your agency’s mission. Contact the Mobile Training Coordinator’s desk at 702-295-7425.