BURLEY — Three staff members at Cassia Regional Medical Center recently learned how to handle many types of disasters during training at the Homeland Security Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama.

The CDP is operated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

CRMC emergency responders Michele Pond-Bell, Doug Adams and Mikhael Carraway completed the training — three other staff members were diverted from the CDP due to inclement weather. They will be sent back in June to complete their training.

Pond-Bell, who is the nursing administrator at CRMC, said in a phone interview Friday that they flew to Atlanta on Jan. 8 during one of the worst storms the area had seen in years.

Although their bus was diverted for a couple of days, they were able to take a crash course and complete the training.

“I think this is a tremendous benefit for the community,” Pond-Bell said. “Whether a rural hospital or an urban hospital, we all operate under the same emergency plan.”

Pond-Bell said they trained alongside people from across the nation, including a New York SWAT team.

They learned how to manage their internal resources like personnel, supplies and power, and how to contact resources on a state and national level for help if their supplies become limited.

Pond-Bell she would like to return for additional training, especially the bio-terrorism and hazmat training, which use a toxic environment to give responders hands-on experience in preventing, responding to and recovering from real-world incidents.

“Some of us would really like to go back for that,” Pond Bell said.

Pond-Bell said they also learned how to evaluate the hazardous risks for the area. In Mini-Cassia, the main risk comes from the weather.

“In severe weather we could lose access to certain places or have a bus go off the road,” Pond-Bell said. “It helps us identify what our risks might be for this area so we can prepare for those.”

Laurie Welch may be reached at lwelch@magicvalley.com or at 677-5025.

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