The “Radioactive Materials Response Training” pilot course was presented at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, NY from December 2-4 by a team of instructors from the Idaho National Laboratory ( INL) National & Homeland Security Directorate. The SPTC was chosen for the rollout of the pilot course because of New York’s active first responder community and the unique training attributes of its training facility, including CityScape. CityScape provides a realistic urban training environment for first responders to put into practice skills and techniques often limited to classroom experiences only. The training was aimed to teach responders to detect, measure and identify radioactive materials and mitigate the threat by implementing protective measures.
John P. Melville, Commissioner of the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services said, “New York State is proud to host this new pilot course that deals with responding to radiation-related emergencies. I thank Idaho National Laboratory and its highly skilled instructors for coming to New York state to broaden our first responders’ knowledge base and enhance their skills in dealing with these potentially dangerous situations.”
The three-day course brought together 11 technical experts from Department of Defense – Civil Support Teams from New York City and Scotia, the NYS Department of Health, New York State Police, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York City Police Department. Experts attended the course and reviewed materials to determine the effectiveness of the training, and to help course designers better define materials and exercises useful to the first-responder community.
The course provides unique and extensive hands-on experience with radioactive materials such as those used in many commercial industries and the medical community. Actual sealed sources were used under highly-controlled scenarios in remote locations at the training facility so that there was no danger to public health. Scenario-based exercises, including some designed exclusively for the SPTC’s CityScape, aimed to improve responder understanding of threats presented by radioactive materials, as well as develop their proficiency with equipment when searching for and identifying radioactive materials. First responders were taught how to detect hidden radioactive sources in a city or town, as well as how to respond to accidental emergency situations, such as a vehicle transporting radioactive materials that is involved in an accident. The pilot, which was well received by those in attendance, will be fine tuned based on feedback from attendees and instructors.
The SPTC trains approximately 18,000 responders a year from New York State, as well as surrounding states and Canada.
Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s complex of national laboratories, and is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL trains federal, state and local responders for radiation-related events and supports several federal teams that respond to radiation-related incidents in the United States and abroad.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and its four offices -- Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications -- provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.