First Receives Utilize Online Training to Maintain Mass Decontamination Preparedness

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS), through its affiliation with Yale New Haven Health, recently implemented online First Receiver Operations Training (FROT) courses to assist local healthcare facilities maintain Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. MDERS is supporting first receiver awareness, safety, and annual review training at various hospitals in the National Capital Region, including Suburban, Holy Cross Health, University of Maryland Capital Region Health, Medstar Montgomery, Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center, and Adventist Health.

First receiver awareness level training is a 30-to-60-minute introductory course engaging participants in principles and procedures of decontamination, protection from specific chemical agents, respiratory protection, and personal safety issues. This training is required for healthcare personnel who work in the contaminant-free hospital post-decontamination area. Participants include emergency department clinicians, clerks, triage staff, and security staff members responsible for notifying hospital authorities of arrivals. An estimated 1,050 hospital-based first receivers will participate in the online training course to obtain contemporary awareness of mass decontamination operations.

The best practices for the protection of healthcare facility-based first receivers operations level training is an intermediate 8-hour online and instructor-led course providing healthcare personnel who have direct patient contact with lessons on decontamination topics. At the culmination of the course, participants acquired a comprehensive understanding of exposure to hazardous substances, hazard awareness, personal protective equipment (PPE), and special decontamination considerations. The practical session consisted of a demonstration of ambulatory and non-ambulatory decontamination during a mass casualty incident. A total of 1,125 healthcare workers will receive the training course to enhance the care of patients before and after thorough decontamination.

Ensuring the consistent training of hospital-based first receivers is reinforced by an annual 5-hour refresher for all hospital staff and healthcare personnel who completed the awareness and operations level courses. The online and instructor-led review will be provided to 1,125 participants who can be directly or incidentally exposed to a contaminated victim.

With the support of MDERS, hospital stakeholders have online access to the following courses:

  • EM120: Best Practices for the Protection of Healthcare Facility-Based First Receivers, Awareness Level
  • EM220: Best Practices for the Protection of Healthcare Facility-Based First Receivers, Operations Level
  • EM220R: Best Practices for the Protection of Health Care Facility-Based First Receivers, Operations Level Refresher

Facilitating an online learning platform to a large and diverse staff audience in an accessible manner enhances emergency preparedness operations necessary to effectively respond to mass decontamination at various levels. While building on this effort, MDERS aims to expand the continuing education and training of healthcare personnel to uphold the quality of patient care.