The first disaster preparedness center west of the Mississippi is opening this month at LDS Hospital. The Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness (ICDP) will begin operating on Friday, April 27, 2012, kicking off the program with an educational symposium featuring local and national speakers.
Keynote speakers include Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell, and Dan Diamond, founder and director of the nation's first state-affiliated medical disaster response team. Mr. Diamond has responded to a variety of international disasters, including, most recently the catastrophic 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. He served as the medical director for Medical Teams International's First Response Team to Haiti. Following Hurricane Katrina, he played a strategic role as director of the Mass Casualty Triage Unit at the New Orleans Convention Center.
The ICDP was created to help healthcare and first responder partners in the community and in the region become better prepared to respond to disaster and emergency situations. The center is equipped with training classrooms, 17 patient rooms, disaster situation simulators, and emergency supplies.
Located at LDS Hospital, the ICDP will be a community and regional resource. The center offers disaster preparedness training and patient simulation for public and private teams who are interested in improving their organization's emergency preparedness.
There are only a handful of similar centers around the United States, including Atlanta and Virginia. Organizers of Intermountain's center anticipate helping thousands of representatives from hospitals, emergency medical services, and law enforcement from around the West and beyond who want to train and simulate events in a safe and practical environment.
"We've been planning and working toward the creation of the center for several years," says Ann Allen, Emergency Management Program manager for Intermountain Healthcare. "With many national and international disasters making headlines, the urgency for a training center like this was even more immediate."
The ICDP's inaugural symposium will include topics on disaster team-building, enhancing public-private partnerships, operational considerations in surviving a limited nuclear detonation, solar storms and communications, and how combat experiences are shaping EMS and disaster responses in Utah.
Other Speakers Include:
- Mr. Edward Gabriel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Department of Health and Human Services
- Dr. C. Norman Coleman, Department of Health and Human Services/ Center for Cancer Research/National Institutes of Health
- Dr. Erin L. Downey, Foreign Policy Analyst/ AAAS Fellow for Diplomacy, Science and Development. US Department of State -Office Geographer and Global Issues
- Mr. Joseph Kunches, Space Scientist. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
- Dr. Peter Taillac, Associate Professor, University of Utah School of Medicine/State EMS Medical Director/Utah Department of Health; COL, Utah National Guard