Federal Funding Opens Doors for Public Safety Personnel to Receive Advanced Training

   SERTC is now enrolling emergency responders for hazardous material training through a federally funded program that provides broad access to intensive training at its world-class training facility located at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Registration for training is available at www.sertc.org.
   “Public safety personnel, firefighters, and law enforcement staffs have a new opportunity to receive the training that we have offered to the private sector for over two decades,” said Mike Cook, SERTC General Manager.
   Front line responders from state, local, and tribal organizations are being accepted in the first of a series of advanced, mode specific technician and specialist level courses that will prepare them with the knowledge and experience to deal successfully, effectively, and safely with large-scale emergencies involving hazardous materials and potential WMD events in their home jurisdictions.
   “The first NDPC class, the Tank Car Specialist class, began June 28 through July 2 and was attended by numerous DHS/FEMA funded first responders,” said Cook. “It is a five-day advanced training course with realistic and demanding hands-on response to rail-related emergencies.”
   “Today, we are honoring our first DHS-funded student, Nathan Bastiaans, a firefighter with the Firestone Fire Protection District in Frederick, Colorado, with an honorary certificate and mementos for being the first person to sign up for our class,” Cook added.
   Additionally, the next DHS-authorized class, the Highway Emergency Response Specialist class, which begins July 12 through July 16, is open for enrollment.  This class addresses techniques for motor carrier hazardous material emergency response preparedness.
   A leadership and management course addressing surface transportation incidents is expected to receive Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration (DHS/FEMA) authorization soon, significantly expanding the capabilities of public safety responders to receive practical training commensurate with their responsibilities.
   SERTC will manage and present courses focusing on surface transportation response as its contribution to the consortium activities.  The classroom, laboratory, and training equipment, including full-scale accident/incident scenarios are available to the NDPC program through the National Center for Emergency Response in Surface Transportation, the element of SERTC responsible for managing the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) programs.
   TTCI received funding for the current program in the latter half of 2009. Extensive work initiated then has been ongoing with the objective of reworking and enhancing four existing, proven private sector courses and progress them through the DHS/FEMA approval and certification process. The Tank Car Specialist course, one of the most popular and well know emergency response training and exercise classes, is the first to be certified by DHS/FEMA. Additional classes to follow the inaugural June 28 class are scheduled, at least monthly, for the balance of 2010. Current funding for the program provides funds for training more than 1,100 public safety responders, a large fraction of them will join some 1,500-1,800 private sector graduates of the school this year. The NDPC-funded program is expected to complete the balance of the initial 1,100 participants in early 2011. Anticipated 2010 NDPC funding will provide continuing training and additional course development through 2011.

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