Category: News

MDERS Expands Public Access Trauma Care to Montgomery College

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) continuously engages with regional partners to expand the Public Access Trauma Care (PATC) program throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The PATC capability seeks to empower bystanders with the requisite medical equipment, knowledge, skills, and abilities to treat life threatening trauma prior to the arrival of first responders. To achieve this goal, MDERS coordinates the procurement and installation of readily accessible PATC kits, in a similar fashion to fire extinguishers or automated external defibrillators (AEDs), throughout government buildings, public schools, or other heavily populated facilities.

MDERS staff coordinated with officials from Montgomery College to strategize the expansion of the PATC capability into their facilities. As part of an expedited planning process, MDERS staff and Montgomery College officials walked through the Rockville campus to identify potential locations for the PATC kits and complete the necessary Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) paperwork. Montgomery College officials then repeated this process at their Germantown campus, Takoma Park campus, and Central Services facility.

Upon completion of all the necessary EHP documentation and paperwork, MDERS supplied Montgomery College with PATC bags and cabinets, which Montgomery College promptly installed in 90 locations across their facilities. Each of these bags stores a patient litter and five individual PATC kits. The individual kits contain a tourniquet, emergency compression dressing, compressed gauze, medical gloves, trauma shears, two chest seals, a survival blanket, a permanent marker, a mini duct tape roll, and a just-in-time instruction card. The expansion of the PATC capability throughout Montgomery College campuses provides an invaluable medical resource for prompt care of an injured victim.

MDERS staff recently met with Prince George’s Community College to discuss how the program could benefit their campus and is continuing to conduct targeted outreach to higher education institutions in the Maryland-National Capital Region.

For more information on the Public Access Trauma Care Program, or other emergency response capabilities, please email

MDERS Stakeholders Participate in the Louisiana State University’s Homeland Security Specialist MicroCert Program

In March 2022, nine members of the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) stakeholder community began Louisiana State University’s (LSU) 10-week Homeland Security Specialist MicroCert program. Participants included representatives from several stakeholder agencies: the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD), Prince George’s County Fire Department (PGFD), Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), and MDERS.

The LSU Homeland Security MicroCert program seeks to instill a greater understanding of how law enforcement operates within the larger homeland security enterprise. To meet this goal, the program is separated into four self-paced courses and a capstone project:

  • Course 1: Homeland Security and Law Enforcement in a Post 9/11 Environment
  • Course 2: Tradecraft of Modern Terrorism
  • Course 3: Intelligence and Multi-Agency Partnerships
  • Course 4: Critical Infrastructure and Private/Public Partnerships
  • Capstone: Operationalizing Homeland Security Concepts

The first course within the program focused on analyzing the increased emphasis on enhanced coordination between law enforcement agencies after the September 11th attacks in 2001. Next, the second module outlined common terrorist tactics and targets, identified attack modalities, and discussed various protective and mitigative actions that law enforcement agencies can enact. The third unit of the program identified best practices for multi-agency intelligence gathering, analysis, and information sharing. The fourth, and final, course within the program underscored the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and the importance of public private partnerships in strengthening response efforts.

The program culminated in a capstone activity that allowed students to apply a cumulative approach to the lessons learned throughout the instructional modules. Students planned a simulated terrorist attack within their respective jurisdictions. Using personal experiences and content learned throughout the program, students then identified mitigative and protective actions to help thwart the simulated attack. A combination of instructor interaction and direct feedback allowed students to better observe the application of the course material in a realistic environment.

Stakeholders who participated in the program rated the overall course highly, stating that:

  • “The LSU Homeland Security Specialist was thought provoking experience.”
  • “The course was very well done, and I enjoyed learning in an online manner.”
  • “The lessons learned will be very beneficial in the day-to-day activities of my job.”

With the completion of the Homeland Security Specialist MicroCert Program, MDERS stakeholders have a better understanding of potential threats to the Maryland-National Capital Region and how best to mitigate such hazards.

First Receivers Train on Mass Decontamination Operations in the Maryland-National Capital Region

To prepare for a potential response to individuals exposed to unknown hazardous substances, seven hospitals within the Maryland-National Capital Region participated in a series of First Receiver Operations Training (FROT) course offerings throughout the Spring of 2022. These two-day trainings educated first receivers on the knowledge, skills, and abilities to recognize a hazardous material exposure, triage patients, initiate field treatment, conduct decontamination, and transition patients to definitive care.

On the first day of the FROT training, students engaged in a classroom discussion that focused on identifying various hazardous materials, protecting against potential exposure, and the detailed process of setting up and operating a field decontamination site. The DECON, LLC instructor introduced various types of contaminants used in real-world events, the symptoms associated with different hazard agents, the proper protocols for donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE), and discussed the operation of mass decontamination sites.

During the second day of training, students received hands-on instruction and demonstrated their ability to properly configure a field decontamination site, including hot, warm, and cold zones, while wearing full PPE. Each of these decontamination sites includes an inflatable shelter with running water to augment permanent infrastructure inside healthcare facilities. Students practiced implementing triage methodologies, deploying equipment, and facilitating both ambulatory and non-ambulatory patient decontamination practices.

To culminate the training, students completed a capstone exercise on a hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) scenario. The scenario necessitated that each team demonstrate their ability to sufficiently deploy and staff their field decontamination site within a specified time limit. During the scenario, students demonstrated mastery of their ability to appropriately don their PPE, deploy the mobile decontamination shelter, connect to running water, triage, and treat a simulated patient.

FROT training remains an imperative step to enhance the safety of first receivers while improving their abilities to manage a large-scale decontamination response. This training continues to provide an unparalleled opportunity to conduct hands-on training under real-world conditions that may be called upon to save lives within Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

MDERS Presents at the 2022 MDEMA Symposium

On May 31st through June 3rd, 2022, the Maryland Emergency Management Association (MDEMA) held its annual symposium in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s symposium, entitled Vision for the Future of Emergency Management, brought together emergency managers, public safety personnel, and other responders from around the state to network and discuss a variety of topics currently impacting the emergency management enterprise.

As part of this year’s symposium, MDERS staff and stakeholders presented on four separate topics: Building Comprehensive Response Capabilities within the Maryland-National Capital Region, Fostering Collaboration and Coordination through Kinetic Learning, Strengthening Collaboration and Coordination through the Implementation of UAS, and Paving the Way for Public Access Trauma Care in the Maryland-National Capital Region. Each of these topics demonstrated different areas in which MDERS and its stakeholders are innovating and expanding the region’s emergency response capabilities.

Building Comprehensive Response Capabilities within the Maryland-National Capital Region

Director Luke Hodgson, Planning & Organization Program Manager Samuel Ascunce, and Finance & Logistics Program Manager Lauren Collins outlined to attendees how MDERS has established a capability development process which builds, implements, and sustains critical response capabilities in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. At the core of the capability development process is the POETEE model, which consists of Planning, Organization, Equipment, Training, Exercise, and Evaluation. MDERS continues to successfully apply and adapt the capability development process across the Maryland-National Capital Region response enterprise to better strengthen stakeholders’ abilities to respond to a multitude of planned and unplanned operations. Participants gained the knowledge, tools, and best practices for building and/or enhancing capabilities within their jurisdictions.

Fostering Collaboration and Coordination through Kinetic Learning

Training and Exercise Specialist Hannah Thomas and Lt. John Berry from the City of Rockville Police Department facilitated a discussion with attendees on MDERS’s Tabletop in a Box program. This systematic, scalable, and economical approach for developing critical capabilities through readily deployable exercises, has been implemented throughout the Maryland-National Capital Region across a multitude of law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency medical services (EMS), healthcare, and public health organizations. Conference attendees participated in a Tabletop in a Box exercise during the conference, responding to a severe weather emergency in the Ocean City area leading up to a holiday weekend.


Strengthening Collaboration and Coordination through the Implementation of UAS

Training and Exercise Specialist Hannah Thomas, Chief Doug Hinkle from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS), Mitch Dinowitz from the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), and Lt. Victor “Tony” Galladora from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) led a discussion with symposium attendees on the  development of Montgomery County’s small-unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) capability over the past four years. The program, which is now fully integrated within MCFRS, MCOEMHS, and MCPD, supports a variety of emergency response needs, including advanced situational awareness and information sharing. The panel of leaders from Montgomery County provided detailed examples on how the County deploys and benefits from the capability on an ongoing basis as part of its emergency response capabilities.

Paving the Way for Public Access Trauma Care in the Maryland-National Capital Region

Finance & Logistics Program Manager Lauren Collins and Emergency Response Planning Specialist Peter McCullough provided attendees with a deep-dive look at the origins, implementation, and expansion of the Public Access Trauma Care (PATC) in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Designed to educate, equip, and empower bystanders to provide life-saving medical aid in the critical minutes before responders arrive on-scene, the PATC program has been deployed across the Prince George’s and Montgomery County public school systems. Participants learned about the step-by-step process through which MDERS developed and deployed the PATC program, as well as how the program has already helped save lives in the Maryland-National Capital Region.

MDERS Hosts Annual Symposium: Reimagining the Threat Landscape

On May 4th and 5th, 2022, the Maryland-National Capita­l Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) hosted its annual symposium. This year’s event, themed Reimagining the Threat Landscape, brought together stakeholders from across the National Capital Region and beyond to discuss timely events and topics germane to the homeland security and public safety enterprise. To accommodate ongoing public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, MDERS broadcast this year’s symposium live via Zoom to provide flexibility and convenience for participants to virtually watch specific portions or all of the event.

Broadcast from Howard University’s WHUT studios in Washington, D.C., the first day of the symposium analyzed the events leading up to, during, and following the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol. Leaders from the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS), and MedStar Washington Hospital Center, provided their unique experience tackling the complex issues faced by their agencies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, and the January 6th insurrection.

Throughout the day, Darrell Darnell, a nationally recognized subject matter expert in homeland security and emergency management, moderated panel discussions with the speakers to further address specific challenges or areas or priority. The panels allowed the speakers to further explore their perspectives on how special events planning has and will continue to evolve in the wake of the insurrection, including leveraging the intelligence community, effective workforce allocation, and innovative ways to enhance community preparedness.

The second day of the symposium featured a variety of presentations facilitated by subject matter experts from governmental and academic institutions on the following emerging homeland security topics:

  • Supply Chain Resilience
  • The Power of Public/Private Partnerships
  • Small Unmanned Aerial Systems in Public Safety and Healthcare Operations
  • Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) Information Session
  • Best Practices for First Responder Psychological Safety and Health

Symposium attendees engaged in real time with the speakers through the Zoom Video Communications platform to ask questions or weigh in on the topics discussed.

The event was well received by attendees and highlighted the need for further training on many of the topics that were discussed. MDERS will continue to provide opportunities for the MDERS stakeholder community addressing the many response complexities facing organizations and the broader homeland security enterprise.

MDERS will host next year’s symposium in the Spring of 2023. Please check the MDERS website for further information.

MDERS and the Prince George’s County Police Department Partner to Conduct Active Shooter and Barricade Full-Scale Exercise

In April 2022, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) culminated an eight-month effort in partnership with the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) to plan and conduct a series of exercises focused on the department’s response to an active shooter incident evolving into a barricaded suspect.

Planning efforts for this exercise cycle began in September 2021 for two exercises: a discussion-based, tabletop exercise (TTX), and an operations-based, full-scale exercise (FSE). Throughout the planning process, MDERS conducted bi-weekly planning meetings with PGPD leadership to establish exercise objectives, develop exercise scenarios, address logistical concerns, formulate timelines, identify participants, and assess needed resources for a realistic exercise environment. The planning team outline four primary objectives of the exercise series:

  • Evaluate Prince George’s County Police Supervisors and Command Staff’s ability to establish and maintain command and control.
  • Analyze the Prince George’s County Police Department’s transfer of command from patrol to special operations response.
  • Assess patrol officers’ ability to provide first responder initial care.
  • Assess Prince George’s County Police Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) personnel’s ability to provide point of injury and patient care, and extrication of patients.

On March 2, 2022, PGPD conducted the first exercise utilizing the MDERS Tabletop In A Box toolkit. This discussion-based exercise allowed participants to work through three, distinct scenarios using a “crawl, walk, run” philosophy. This philosophy introduces increasingly complex elements allowing participants to progressively become familiar with the scenario and examine more intricate concepts. Twenty-two officers worked through these scenarios on an aerial-view map of the incident location using simulated models of real-world resources.

On April 13th, 2022, the exercise cycle reached its capstone with a six-hour, full-scale exercise at PGPD’s Public Safety Firearm and Tactical Training Complex in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The planning team purposefully selected this 160,000 square foot facility as it allowed exercise participants to train in a realistic environment with commercial and residential buildings, as well as provided a controlled area of play monitored closely by PGPD personnel for the safety of all exercise participants.

The FSE consisted of two scenarios designed to measure any training gaps between patrol officers and the teams who have received additional specialized training. The first scenario began with an active threat incident inside a restaurant that transitioned into a suspect fleeing and barricading inside a nearby apartment. In addition to patrol officers, this scenario necessitated the involvement of PGPD’s Conflict Negotiations Team, Special Operations Division, Aviation Division, and K-9 Unit.

Upon completion of the first scenario, the exercise planning team reset the facility to conduct a second scenario, targeted at a more advanced response team. The second scenario consisted of an active threat moving from a restaurant to a facility with multiple rooms. In lieu of a barricaded suspect, officers were prompted to neutralize the active threat and clear the building.

In all, 143 PGPD officers participated in the exercise, which marks MDERS’s first ever full-scale exercise. While the formal after-action review process is ongoing, and expected to conclude in July 2022, preliminary feedback from exercise participants was overwhelming positively and numerous strengths and areas for improvement were identified by the evaluation team which will help PGPD continue to improve and expand upon their existing response capabilities.

Building Close Quarters Clearance Capabilities in Montgomery County

Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) has built a comprehensive training program for their special operations division (SOD) personnel. With support from the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS), 18 officers from MCPD recently participated in a local offering of the Tomahawk Close Quarter Clearance (CQC) – Methodical Clearance Course. This training combines best practices and techniques for tactical entry and follow-on movement procedures.

This five-day course provides field-based training for law enforcement organizations to establish and refine standard operating procedures (SOPs) for CQC methodical and threshold clearance. Students learned several essential tactical skills, including threat priorities, use of cover, room entries, and follow-on movement.

The training occurred across five disparate locations throughout Montgomery County. The distinctive floorplan of each facility allowed operators to maneuver in diverse environments. The instructors provided real-time feedback to each trainee and the unit’s performance in the following areas: two-four-person room entries, room pie methods, angles/cross-pan, multiple rooms, de-confliction, stairway/hallway movement, single/dual access, and team size movement.

MCPD has made great strides by expanding its close-quarter clearance capabilities to include night vision operations. While the focus of CQC is on tactical entry and follow-on movement, it requires proficiency in observation, intelligence gathering, and operational planning. The local delivery of the Tomahawk CQC – Methodical Clearance Course allowed MCPD to train officers as a group and highlighted the need for more team-based training.
With the completion of the Tomahawk CQC – Methodical Clearance Course, MCPD understands the need to build/enhance competency in key areas of CQC.

Montgomery County Utilizes sUAS Technology at Lyttonsville Road Explosion

On March 3, 2022, an explosion occurred at Friendly Garden Apartments on Lyttonsville Road in Silver Spring, MD, igniting a large-scale structure fire that injured 14 individuals and displaced an estimated 200 residents. As the fire consumed the four-story building, which ultimately resulted in a near total collapse of the structure, first responders on-scene deployed small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) to support information gathering and situational awareness to aid in rescue operations.

Over the past four years, Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS), and Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) have partnered with the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System to develop, deploy, and expand their sUAS capabilities. With a focus on information gathering and shared situational awareness, MDERS and Montgomery County collaborated to develop a systematic framework that provided the planning, training, and equipment necessary to support emergency response operations. The capabilities provided through MDERS,  including sUAS platforms, peripheral accessories, software systems, and support equipment were heavily relied upon during the Lyttonsville Road incident.

MCPD and MCFRS utilized their sUAS platforms to live-stream a 360-degree view of the incident scene to the Incident Command Post (ICP). Through the DroneSense software, the Incident Commander and other responders were able to remotely access and view this secured, live footage to aid in time-sensitive decision making. MCPD, in coordination with MCFRS, utilized mounted thermal imaging devices to identify “hotspots” within the structure fire that aided the prioritization of fire suppression activities to critical locations within the apartment complex. Simultaneously, MCPD deployed a secondary sUAS platform to conduct mapping missions, supported by specialized software, intended to aid the investigation process. Throughout the entirety of the Lyttonsville Road response operations, MCPD utilized a specially outfitted Chevrolet Tahoe, provided through MDERS, equipped with spare parts, extra batteries, chargers, and specialized tools to support sUAS flight operations.

The Lyttonsville Road explosion and fire demonstrates the value of sUAS capabilities in emergency response operations. The continued implementation of sUAS capabilities within public safety agencies minimizes the risk of injury to responders while increasing situational awareness, allowing responding agencies to formulate an appropriate intervention in complex and evolving environments.

Developing Comprehensive Response Capabilities within the Maryland-National Capital Region

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) was instituted to optimize emergency response to routine and large-scale incidents by facilitating collaboration between emergency management, fire/rescue/emergency medical services, law enforcement, public health, and healthcare agencies within Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. In coordination with a Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from stakeholder agencies, MDERS identifies priority response capabilities within the region that require additional development and expansion. These capabilities and associated objectives are outlined in the MDERS Strategic Plan, which identifies measurable target outcomes for each area of response.

To meet the goals and objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan, MDERS has established a capability development process which builds, implements, and sustains critical response capabilities. At the core of the capability development process is the POETEE model, detailed in Figure 1 below, which consists of Planning, Organization, Equipment, Training, Exercise, and Evaluation.

Figure 1: POETEE Model

MDERS’s organizational structure is built around this model with three distinct, yet constantly overlapping, programs: Planning and Organization, Finance and Logistics, and Training and Exercise. These three programs work together throughout the capability development lifecycle to ensure all facets of a capability are being fully addressed.

The Planning and Organization Program oversees the drafting and implementation of comprehensive Capability Development Plans (CDPs) that identify the region’s strategy for meeting the desired capability targets. These plans identify in detail each aspect of the planning, organizing, training, exercising, equipping, and evaluating that will be necessary to accomplish target capability outcomes from the region’s emergency response agencies. The Finance and Logistics Program works through the entire capability development cycle, overseeing the creation of budgets; submission of proposals; and purchasing, deployment, and sustainment of equipment. Additionally, the Finance and Logistics Program oversees the grant administration and reimbursement for all MDERS-funded programs. The Training & Exercise Program coordinates with the Steering Committee, stakeholder agencies, the Planning and Organization Program, and the Finance and Logistics Program to deliver training and exercise opportunities that enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of regional emergency responders to support targeted capabilities as identified in the MDERS Strategic Plan and specific CDPs. Throughout this lifecycle, MDERS staff serve as project managers overseeing the long-term development and implementation of the elements outlined in the CDPs.

MDERS continues to successfully apply and adapt the capability development process across the Maryland-National Capital Region response enterprise to better strengthen our stakeholder’s ability to respond to a multitude of planned and unplanned emergency operations.

Deploying Public Access Trauma Care within Montgomery County Public Schools

On January 22, 2022, a member of the Magruder High School security team identified a student suffering from a gunshot injury in a school bathroom. The school nurse deployed compressed gauze from the nearby Public Access Trauma Care (PATC) kit to provide life-saving treatment to the injured student prior to the arrival of first responders on-scene.

The PATC kits, found in all Montgomery County public high schools, are one component of the larger PATC program administered by the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS). The PATC program aims to empower community members throughout Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties to respond to life-threatening blood loss, or other common forms of trauma, through the deployment of medical equipment, training, and other educational resources. Currently, MDERS and its stakeholders are focused on the continued proliferation of PATC kits throughout government buildings and other public facilities across the Maryland-National Capital Region.

Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS), school officials, and other county leaders placed Magruder High School on lockdown upon identification of the gunshot injury. MCPD began conducting witness interviews and searching the school grounds while MCFRS transported the injured student to a nearby trauma center. MCPD ultimately located and apprehended a suspect with a firearm in one of the school’s classrooms.

In addition to PATC, Montgomery County applied numerous capabilities developed or enhanced through MDERS, including Tactical Equipment for Law Enforcement, Intelligence and Information Sharing, and Incident Command System components.

For more information on the Public Access Trauma Care program, or other emergency response capabilities, please email