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Rural first responders and healthcare professionals in the region learned more about how they can work collaboratively in the event of a bioterrorism incident at a free public awareness training session presented by the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) on June 14 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

Participants attended an eight-hour pilot course, “Bioterrorism Awareness: Collaboration Among First Responders and Health Professionals,” where they received professional training to help them respond more efficiently and effectively to situations involving biological agents.

During the instructor-led session, participants learned how to apply information from various emergency response guides, focusing especially on the strategic use of computer software decision tools, both during field response to bioterrorism attacks and in rural health facilities.

The intention is to increase the efficiency of the rural first responders’ field experience as well as to coordinate patient care by enhancing their communication with emergency department (ED) hospital personnel and public health personnel, thus improving the entire response experience and reducing the chance for further community contamination.

The course is also intended to show healthcare providers the value of using WISER® software to detect possible biological agent effects on patients entering hospital Emergency Department or rural clinics with symptoms but unknown causes.

Attending the course were representatives from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Somerset Police Department, the nonprofit organization, ARC of Lake Cumberland, Laurel County Chemical Stockpile Preparedness Program and Emergency Management, and RDPC staff.