Posted by: Craig Fugate, Administrator
I’ve talked about the unique training FEMA provides for emergency responders at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Ala. This one-of-a-kind training facility has enhanced the preparedness of local, state and tribal responders from all over the country. We’ve seen these impacts as incidents have played out from New York City to Joplin, Mo over the past few years.
The approximately 90,000 responders a year who receive training through CDP programs benefit from a dedicated and experienced staff. They’ve also benefited from the insight and leadership provided over the past four years by CDP Superintendent Dr. Christopher T. Jones. Dr. Jones is retiring June 2 after more than 32 years of public service.
Dr. Jones became CDP Superintendent in August 2008 and, during his tenure, oversaw the training of more than 336,000 emergency responders from across the nation. He even trained alongside some of those responders as he led the CDP. FEMA, the CDP, and most importantly our nation’s emergency responders have all benefited from Dr. Jones’ unwavering commitment to preparedness. He has the unique ability to see the challenges and unmet needs of responders and how to address them.
More than two years ago he recognized the need for responders to have access to training for biological incidents, so the CDP incorporated nonpathogenic forms of anthrax and ricin into the toxic agent training at the center’s Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological Training Facility. The responders who have gone through the training have come away with greater confidence and understanding of their ability to deal with what was previously an unfamiliar threat.
Dr. Jones also saw the value of expanding the CDP’s mass casualty medical surge training by updating the dated emergency department of the Noble Training Facility from a cramped, four-bed trauma bay to a spacious, modern facility that more closely replicates the environment where doctors, nurses and other hospital staff work in their home towns.
The CDP’s new Emergency Department also incorporates technology that allows these doctors, nurses and hospital staff who train at the CDP the opportunity to practice and experience a realistic response to an intense and demanding mass casualty incident.
While we wish him luck in his retirement, FEMA will miss his vision, insight, dedication, and professionalism. And so will the thousands of responders across our nation who have benefited from his leadership at the CDP.